Long before they were called selfies, Karl Baden snapped a simple black and white photo of himself. Then he repeated it every day for the next three decades.
Baden’s Every Day project officially turns 30 on Thursday and he says he has no intention of stopping. The stark contemplation on mortality and aging has prompted some to dub the Boston College professor the unwitting “father of the selfie.”
The 64-year-old Cambridge resident grumbles at comparisons to the pouty face, self-congratulatory portraits that now fill Instagram and Facebook. But he recognizes the ubiquity of the selfie has helped raise the profile of the project, which has been exhibited in art galleries in Boston, New York City and elsewhere over the years.
“If it wasn’t for the selfie craze, I’d probably be slogging along in anonymity as usual,” Baden joked this week.
“Which is sort of what I had expected.”
What makes the project work is that it reflects a number of universal themes, from death to man’s obsession with immortalizing himself in some way, said Howard Yezerski, a Boston gallery owner who has exhibited the project on two occasions.
“It’s both personal and universal at the same time,” he said.
‘He’s recording a life, or at least one aspect of it that we can all relate to because we’re all in same boat. We’re all going to die.’
– Howard Yezerski, gallery owner
“He’s recording a life, or at least one aspect of it that we can all relate to because we’re all in same boat. We’re all going to die.”
Robert Mann, a New York City gallery owner that exhibited Baden’s work on its 10th…