Selfie, an ubiquitous and universal term in today’s world defying language confinements as well as cultural and generational boundaries. Ari Fararooy’s Instagram captured our imaginations, showcasing the artistic possibilities of turning the camera on oneself. We were thrilled when he agreed to be interviewed to share his inspiration as well as tips for setting your Instagram images aside from the duckfaced masses.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself, what you do for a living and where you’re based?
I’m 25-‐years old and live in Los Angeles, CA.
I work as a freelance video director/editor/vfx artist and photographer.
Where did you come up with the concept of your faceless ‘selfie’?
I randomly had an idea for one of the specific shots in the series as I was about to go to sleep one night. And then I liked it so much I started thinking of other ideas to make it into a series.
It’s becoming harder on social media to stand out from the crowd. What in your opinion do you need to do in order to get your presence noticed?
Be unique, and the easiest way to do that is to be yourself. Instead of replicating other photographers’ styles, think about what you love and turn that into art.
How important do you think the selfie has been in terms of social progression in recent years and what do you think it represents culturally in general?
Honestly, I don’t really know. Probably not that important? I mean, we often forget that a selfie is just the modern-‐day way of saying ‘self-‐portrait’, which of course has been around as a concept for an insane amount of years. The only difference now being that almost everyone has a camera, which was not the case before, so now maaaad people are taking photos of themselves. I guess overall it’s tough to say what it represents culturally just because people take selfies for different reasons. Damn, interesting question!
You’ve been featured in a significant amount of design and mainstream media. How did you first get noticed; was it intentional or did the pick up surprise you?
I first started getting featured on blogs/websites from my travel videos in 2013. I posted them on my Vimeo account and sent them out to a few sites. I then created my Instagram account in 2014 and started getting picked up for my photography as well. It’s all really been a mix of actively self-‐ promoting and others genuinely being interested in my work.
What equipment do you use to capture your selfies? Do you rely on a team or friends to help you carry out some of the more dramatic shots involving props for example?
Usually it’s just me, my camera, and a tripod. That’s actually why I have so many self-‐portraits. I’m often the only person around to take photos with. Other times I’ll need help with props, and then I’ll ask my roommate or my cousins to help out.
Can you share with us your favorite selfie and explain a bit of the background behind the shot?
My favorite selfie is from a series I did earlier in 2015 called ‘Desert Reflections’. The whole series took place in Joshua Tree National Park and was a fun little experiment to see how many creative self-portraits I could take using a mirror. My favorite of the series involves me holding up the mirror in front of me and the shot is taken from my POV, however, the camera is missing from the reflection. I think I love this one the most because people were so genuinely confused and intrigued by the photo. That made me feel good.
Who are you top five people to follow on Instagram?
Any plans for a selfie book à la Kim Kardashian West?
Hah! That would be dope. If there was ever enough interest to the point where that would make sense, then fuck yeah.
*All images copyright of Ari Fararooy.