Portrait of an accountant-backpacker in 1,600 selfies

Patrick Hamilton Walsh has taken a selfie every day at the same time for the past four and a half years.

Some 1,600 ‘phoneographs’ later, he has a unique portrait of his life and travels around the world.

Patrick, 36, and originally from Strabane, Co Tyrone, decided to start documenting his life in May 2010. Calling the project ‘This is Me@3’, he took a photo of himself every day at 3pm as he travelled the globe, broke a world record, graduated from two courses, published two books — and married the woman of his dreams.

He felt 3pm was a good time to take the selfie, as he felt that whatever he was doing at that time tended to define what he was doing that day.

Originally, the project had more of an artistic background, as Patrick had intended to compare the backgrounds in all the photos — almost like a life log of where in the world he was each day.

He first got the idea for the daily self-portraits as he was visiting a street art exhibition in Sweden which inspired him.

“I have no idea why,” he says, but the idea flashed into his head. Four and a half years, and more than 1,600 snaps later, Patrick says ‘This is Me@3’ has taken on a new meaning.

“This project has shown me a part of my life that I did not really know existed,” he said. “I always feel happy and energetic, but through these phoneographs, I have noticed long periods of time where I have not been smiling at 3pm, where I have rolled out of bed and into the same old hoodie to begin a day in front of my laptop, away from the eyes of the world.”

Patrick talks about his selfie project in his autobiographical book, The Backpacker Who Sold His Supercar, which tells the tale of an artist’s loneliness, a backpacker’s fun-filled days — and the general ups and downs of a professional accountant.

When he was 16, Patrick wrote down three life goals: To become a regular at games in Old Trafford; to own a supercar; and to travel the world. After becoming an accountant, Patrick saved enough money to achieve the first two goals by the age of 26. Realising he still needed to tick one more off the list, Patrick sold his Porsche and set off for an adventure.

“I want to inspire people to go out into the world and get what they want. Nobody’s going to deliver your dreams to you on a silver platter,” he explained.

Patrick urges people to write down their desires and make a three-step plan for achieving them.

“Don’t do it too big,” he said. “Write down three big steps, not a million small ones. Write them down and keep them near you so you’ll see them and be reminded of them.”

All of the proceeds from the book go toward helping the homeless population of Dublin.

“We’re all only really three pay cheques from being on the street ourselves when you think about it,” said Patrick.

For more, go to PatrickHamiltonWalsh.com or follow him on Twitter @ThePhoneographr


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