Melinda Camber Porter purchased a Polaroid camera in 1981. She was fascinated by the fact one was able to get instant feedback with a Polaroid camera and not wait days or weeks to get one’s traditional photography developed. She could now take pictures of herself and see if it showed what she was thinking. Today, of course, we call this a ‘Selfie.’
From 1981 to 1983 Melinda Camber Porter took approximately one-hundred-and-fifty Polaroid Selfies. She placed each of her Polaroid Selfies in chronological order into a three-inch thick, three ringed photobook. She was obviously fascinated with, and had deep interest in, what ‘Selfies’ showed about her state of mind. Melinda Camber Porter averaged one Polaroid photo selfie per week for three years, 1981–83, creating a ‘photo diary.’
With this new Polaroid camera, Melinda Camber Porter now had the ability to take a photo of herself in many different emotional states to see if she could capture the emotional state of her mind with each selfie.
"How totally ahead of her time Melinda was! This is really cool stuff, then and now!”
"As someone who loves taking Polaroids, I enjoyed reading and looking at this book."
—Jade A. Baker, Writer and Photographer
"Melinda Camber Porter was way ahead of her time. Can you imagine what Melinda Camber Porter would have been able to create with an iPhone?"
—Brad Johnson, Film Producer, Watson Pond Productions
"I remember being fascinated by the concept of the Polaroid era pictures developing right there–magic. Melinda Camber Porter’s My Polaroid Selfies, Book 1, 1981 is an interesting and very creative look at the precursor to Instagram. Here are selfies taken by a very creative woman, Melinda Camber Porter. Four out Five stars.”
—Rhonda Lomazow, Reviewer for Pixel Hall Press
"A reader with any amount of firm cynicism about today’s selfie culture is likely to approach this book with a subjective catalog of prejudices and preconceptions that will need to be worked through before Porter’s images can be viewed fairly and sensitively. At first, it’s easy to dismiss some of her expressions as mugging for the camera, and the old question of whether posing for a snapshot inevitably changes one’s behavior also comes into play—a factor which, if true, would arguably invalidate Porter’s entire project, killing it at the root. The only fair answer to these concerns is to approach this collection of images the way all sincerely made art should be approached: with a generous spirit and a willingness to put in the time needed to reveal its subtleties. This body of work is a “see it for yourself” proposition, and any evidence as to whether there’s true substance in her attempt to make selfies of the soul ultimately lies with each viewer’s unique experience with it. The things that may happen when one spends enough time with these images probably can’t be conveyed either adequately or accurately in words. Yet they’re both the key to understanding Porter’s project, and its very essence."
— Jeff Edwards, Art critic and writer, Professor at the School of Visual Arts in New York (full review here)
“My Polaroid Selfies 1981, Book 1 is a lovely little book that mixes both Polaroid production history and Melinda Camber Porter biographical content brilliantly. It gave such an interesting spin on a topic, manufacturing and production, that I usually find boring. I recommend this book and author.”
— Georgia Grantham, Media Reviewer