Why does “I took a photo of myself” sound correct, but “I found a photo of myself” sound wrong? while “I took a photo of me” sounds wrong, but “I found a photo of me” sounds right? Does it weirdly depend on who took the photo — portrait or selfie? If the subject is I, I thought the correct choice would always be myself, but does this sound right: “I found a photo of myself standing in front of the Eiffel Tower,” or wouldn’t that sentence sound better as “I found a photo of me standing in front of the Eiffel Tower”

Last edited by Me, myself, and I
Original Post

The more I think on this, the more I think it has to do with the unwritten identity of the person who took the picture:

I found a picture (he/she took) of me standing in front of the Eiffel Tower.

I found a picture (I took) of myself standing in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Hello, Me, myself, and I (is that the username you really intended to adopt or did you just get confused with the title of your thread?), and welcome to the Grammar Exchange.

Me, myself, and I posted:

Why does “I took a photo of myself” sound correct, but “I found a photo of myself” sound wrong? while “I took a photo of me” sounds wrong, but “I found a photo of me” sounds right?

"take a photo of oneself" is synonymous with "photograph oneself," and is thus used when the doer of the action (the photographer) coincides with the recipient of the action (the person photographed).

"I took a picture of me" is correct if "take" means "grab."

Me, myself, and I posted:

I found a picture of me standing in front of the Eiffel Tower.

I found a picture of myself standing in front of the Eiffel Tower.

I think both are correct, the only difference being that "myself" sounds more emphatic.

There is, as I see it, another point to be made, and that is that "standing in front of the Eiffel Tower" is ambiguous mainly in the first sentence (While standing in front of the Eiffel Tower, I found a picture of me / I found a picture showing me standing in front of the Eiffel Tower) but will most likely be interpreted as the circumstances in which "I" found the picture in the second sentence.

Last edited by Gustavo, Contributor

Thanks for your welcome to GE and for sharing your thoughts on my question, Gustavo I chose my name because it seemed like a fun ID that also had to do with my first question posted here.

Regarding the word grab, instead of took, why would you think “I grabbed a photo of me” is preferable to “I grabbed a photo of myself?” Is it because the photo is likely not a selfie, as in “I grabbed a photo (taken) of me.” And if what was intended was actually more like “I snapped a photo of myself” why does it still feel unclear whether to use myself or me when the sentence is “I found a photo of myself/me.” If the rule is that if the subject is I, it should require myself, then “I found/grabbed/snapped a photo of me” should never be correct, but it gets complicated when you start playing with it to find the right answer: “He found/grabbed/snapped a picture of himself” seems to indicate it should always be myself when used with I. I think, after all this, I feel the correct choice has to do with meaning more than grammar. “He found a photo of himself...” emphasizes who found the photo, while “He found a photo of him...” emphasizes who was in the photo.

Where to place the “in front of the Eiffel Tower” is a whole ‘nother complication I hadn’t considered!

Lastly, I was so happy to see a reply to my question. I found I couldn’t explain my question in a short post, and I figured no one would bother to wade through it, actually consider it, and take the time to reply. So happy and grateful that you took the time, Gustavo. Thank you!

 

 

Me, myself, and I posted:

Thanks for your welcome to GE and for sharing your thoughts on my question, Gustavo I chose my name because it seemed like a fun ID that also had to do with my first question posted here.

That's perfect.

Me, myself, and I posted:

Regarding the word grab, instead of took, why would you think “I grabbed a photo of me” is preferable to “I grabbed a photo of myself?” Is it because the photo is likely not a selfie, as in “I grabbed a photo (taken) of me.” And if what was intended was actually more like “I snapped a photo of myself” why does it still feel unclear whether to use myself or me when the sentence is “I found a photo of myself/me.” If the rule is that if the subject is I, it should require myself, then “I found/grabbed/snapped a photo of me” should never be correct, but it gets complicated when you start playing with it to find the right answer: “He found/grabbed/snapped a picture of himself” seems to indicate it should always be myself when used with I. I think, after all this, I feel the correct choice has to do with meaning more than grammar. “He found a photo of himself...” emphasizes who found the photo, while “He found a photo of him...” emphasizes who was in the photo.

I'm afraid I didn't make myself clear enough. It doesn't matter whether the subject is I, you, he, she, we or they. My understanding is that when "take a photo" means "photograph," then the reflexive pronoun has to be used if the person taking the photo is the same as the person photographed. If "take a photo" means "get hold of a photo," then both the object pronoun (e.g. me, him) and the reflexive pronoun (e.g. myself, himself) can be used if the person getting hold of the picture is the same as the person appearing in the photo, the only difference being that the latter is more emphatic.

Me, myself, and I posted:

Lastly, I was so happy to see a reply to my question. I found I couldn’t explain my question in a short post, and I figured no one would bother to wade through it, actually consider it, and take the time to reply. So happy and grateful that you took the time, Gustavo. Thank you!

We always make a point of answering all questions to the best of our knowledge and subject to our time limitations. We do this for pleasure (unfortunately, we don't get paid) and will continue to do so as long as we get good and respectful questions like yours.

Last edited by Gustavo, Contributor
Gustavo, Contributor posted:

My understanding is that when "take a photo" means "photograph," then the reflexive pronoun has to be used if the person taking the photo is the same as the person photographed. If "take a photo" means "get hold of a photo," then both the object pronoun (e.g. me, him) and the reflexive pronoun (e.g. myself, himself) can be used if the person getting hold of the picture is the same as the person appearing in the photo, the only difference being that the latter is more emphatic.

Very astute observation, Gustavo. I completely agree. Prepositional phrases can sometimes seem like a Twilight Zone, grammatically, for reflexive-pronoun usage. But when a prepositional phrase is part of a phrasal/prepositional verb, as "take a picture of" is when it means "photograph," then the normal rule holds, that we use a reflexive pronoun when the object is co-referent with the subject of the clause. "She took a picture of her" would naturally be understood as meaning that she took a picture of someone else -- unless, as you say, "take" is not understood as forming part of a phrasal verb. Then either meaning is possible.

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