Vain + Alone is nothing serious. On the other hand, despite its’ whimsy, it is dead serious.
I don’t pretend to understand much about the selfie culture: there seems to be a lot written about it that you’re welcome to read, but I don’t really give a fuck. This is not that.
At the root of V+A, of course, is my vanity and at the root of that vanity is, of course, insecurity…along with a nod to self-deprecation and my long held attraction to solitude. There is something about turning the camera on ourselves with a particular intention, in a manner that has nothing to do with the selfie shot but more to do a with a kind of introspection. I think Vain + Alone is an extension of the kind of song I’ve written over the years…attempts at, as Leonard Cohen puts it, self-investigation without self-indulgence. Not pure confession, but confession filtered through skill and hard work. I recognize both the pics and the songs as self portraits.
The rules are simple:
Minimal technical muss ‘n fuss. This isn’t an Annie Leibowitz Vanity Fair shoot. Extra points for MacGyver-ing stuff.
You need to be vain enough to make the following conceit work: you agree to be shadowed by a particularly devoted paparazzo that has an All Access Pass to your life.
You need to be alone. You can’t excuse yourself from a walk along the beach with your lover to pop off a quick Vain + Alone because the light is nice. There is a documentary (mockumentary?) tone to these things.
You can’t ask someone to take the picture. By definition, that would a portrait, NOT a self-portrait.