We always love to capture our images. Some definitely put efforts to go to a photo booth, pay some bucks to get a picture taken, while others hesitate to go pose in front of a camera where a complete stranger is taking the picture for them. However, with the evolution of camera being more accessible to us now, the self-photography has taken a completely new form. Our lives just got better. We no longer need to go for a photo station or hire a photographer to take our own pictures, spend unnecessary amount of cash and wait impatiently for days to get our pictures from them. Even the camera-shy ones are less likely to feel bashful to go and face a stranger to capture self-image for them. We have a new medium through which to explore our own self-portrait or selfie.
Why do we selfie? Because we CAN.
photo credits: Sandra
In a relatively short time, it was possible for us to click images of ourselves instantaneously and share them with thousands of other people through social networks. The popularity of selfie has been growing in the 2000’s until the emergence of iPhone 4 in 2010. The front-facing camera invention in the iPhone4 made the selfie go completely viral. Whether it is the high angle photo with arm extended or the mirror self-portrait; the front-facing camera persuades us to snap the photo instantly, regardless of where we are or who we are with. Currently, there are more than 31 million photos uploaded in Instagram with the hashtag #selfie, and with the hashtag #me, the number is whopping 90 million. What more, the selfie has been named as Word of the Year in 2013 by Oxford with its massive popularity.
Selfie has become a cultural phenomenon in our lives today. There is a huge amount of emphasis we put on our physical appearance through the social networks. We hold the smartphone tilted 45 degrees above the eyeline, catches the best light view from a window, pose either a natural beauty or the sexy look with sucked-in cheeks or pouting lips, and finally, snap! But ohh wait, it’s not yet final. Next comes the big step, filtering: the image is softened, a flawless skin tone, a color filter. Finally the picture is ready and posted on Instagram or Facebook with a bunch of self-related hashtags, and wait impatiently for the high number of likes and praising comments. It feels good right? But wait, does it really make you feel good inside? Does it make you feel beautiful? Perhaps, just temporarily.
photo credit: Hans G Bäckman
Psychologists claim that selfies can damage our self-esteem.
‘When we get so distracted by the marketing of ourselves, we can lose touch with our authentic identities and struggle to build real relationships’
We take 1000s of selfies spending more than an hour preparing for it before we actually chooses the perfect snap and edit them and post to public. Meanwhile, Hemmen mentions that what we shoot and post comes with a range of health and authenticity. She states that a secure and matured person would post selfies less often with images that are spontaneous and less edited, while a more insecure person would post selfies highly edited and would do it so much that they become consumed by it and the comments they receive. Consequently, after all the time and efforts put on the photo we upload, a single negative comment for the picture can ruin our whole day. Why? Because we are trying to show the public someone who we are not in reality. It is important to question what this means in terms of how we view ourselves. Does the selfie we upload on the social media matter way more than our own genuine reflection? Are we scaling our self-worth through these selfies that we post to the public?
photo credit: Ashlee Martin