Because I am old and decidedly not hip (see my post about being above the generation gap), I didn’t realize “selfie” was a thing until recently. I knew taking photos of yourself in the bathroom mirror produced a dorky picture. And I didn’t get why everyone had to post their dorky pictures, particularly if they were making duck faces (I’m told it’s supposed to look like lips pursed together for a kiss, but it makes them look like a duck), all over the internet.
When went on our honeymoon we passed the camera back and forth to take pictures of each other. But if we wanted a picture of us together we either had to find someone to take it for us, which wasn’t always possible, or we had to take it ourselves by holding the camera out at arm’s length. Which is how we ended up with this beauty of us on the Dumbo ride at Disneyland (can you photo bomb a photo if you were supposed to be in it to begin with?):
Over the course of the week we got a lot better at it. (It was our honeymoon and we were at the happiest place on earth, of course we were going to kiss.)
And now it’s a thing we do whenever we go somewhere. Only because we aren’t hip, we’ve been calling them “arm’s length” photos (because that’s how far away the camera is) and not “selfies.”
Saying you are holding something at arm’s length means you want to keep your distance from it. You don’t want to become emotionally involved. You don’t want to have it connected with you. You are avoiding getting friendly with the person or idea.
Our arm’s length photos are the exact opposite.
You can make out what’s going on in the background in our photos. We’ve seen our relationship from an arm’s length away at the Grand Canyon, at home, at the hospital, at races, at football games, at funerals, at bookstores, at air shows, at museums.
But the focus, the tight focus, is us, our relationship, our closeness. We have to be real close together physically to both be in the picture. We have to hold each other in our arms to take a photo from an arm’s length away. At that distance, if we also weren’t close together emotionally, it would show.
Keeping the camera at arm’s length is one way we keep our relationship even closer. We keep each other within arms’ reach no matter what is happening in the background.