“Me, My Shelfie, and I” by Dale Hrabi. The Wall Street Journal, 4/26/2014

Shelfie by Ruth (kidding, only kidding!)

Shelfie by Ruth (kidding, only kidding!)

Okay, we just became familiar with “selfies” (see posting of 9/26/2013, Selfies), so what now is a “shelfie?”

A “shelfie” is a photo of a few of your possessions artfully arranged on a shelf or table and posted on something like Instagram. As Hrabi points out, shelfies are a very practical feature of today’s social scene. In the past, if you wanted to flaunt your good taste and solicit a little praise for your enviable eye for design, you had to throw a dinner party—folding napkins, constructing a centerpiece, and all of that. You had to make your home presentable, put out the place settings, and even prepare a gourmet meal.

No one has time for that anymore. Now, it is much easier to cleverly arrange a few tasteful items, snap a digital photo of them, and post it on Instagram. Your friends can email their praises that you can print and even add to the arrangement if your hubris is unbounded. Much easier for everyone.

Shelfies have become so popular some have already become clichés. One is any arrangement that includes a leafy pattern drawn in a cup of cappuccino shot from overhead. Another is of a collected shell or stone under a glass dome to emphasize its beauty (and your amazing good taste for recognizing it). Any arrangement that includes a pair of reading glasses casually placed as if left behind from a thoughtful moment. Any arrangement including a supposedly-forgotten high-class magazine (like The New Yorker). Any arrangement that includes an articulated wooden model used by artists. And, I would add, any arrangement that includes an intellectual book, such as the one shown above.

You can see select shelfies at

About Roger Walck

My reasons for writing this blog are spelled out in the posting of 10/1/2012, Montaigne's Essays. They are probably not what you think.
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