(PCM) According to Wikipedia the definition of a “selfie” is as follows “a type of self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a hand-held digital camera or camera phone. “Selfies” are often associated with social networking. They are often casual, are typically taken either with a camera held at arm’s length or in a mirror, and typically include either only the photographer or the photographer and as many people as can be in focus. “Selfies” taken that involve multiple people are known as “group selfies”. Obviously, most of us have heard of a selfie, heck, I bet most all of us have taken a few “selfies”, however we were curious as to just how this style of photography rose to the popularity in pop culture that it is at today.
Many individuals believe that the “selfie” is a recent trend, however the earliest know selfie dates back to the year 1839 when photographer Robert Cornelius produced a daguerreotype of himself, which also happens to be the first known photograph of a person. Because the process of taking an image was so incredibly slow back in that time, Cornelius was able to remove his lens cap, walk around in front of the shot for a few moments and then simply replace the lens cap to create the image. Also, Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna was the first teenager to take a “selfie” in 1914, when using the Kodak Browie Box camera which was introduced in 1900, captured an image of herself in the mirror to send to a friend.
Many people today can’t even stand to hear the word “selfie”, in fact, it even made the 2013 list of the most annoying words of the year. The first known use of the word selfie to describe self-taken images was back in 2002, when the term appeared on an Australian forum where a person was discussing a drunken evening with friends and apologized for the lack of focus in one of the images claiming it was a “selfie”.
With the uprise of social networking came the uprise of the “selfie”. When sites such as MySpace were all the rage, the “selfie” became incredibly popular to use a a profile picture, however these images were mostly blown out, out of focus bathroom mirror shots posted by teenagers. When Facebook began to rise up the ranks of social networking, profile pictures for the site were kept much more formal and at a distance. Users were able to tell which members were MySpace crossovers because of their over-use of “selfie” images, again mostly by teenage girls, who seemingly can never take enough “selfies”.
Once cellphone designs began incorporating a front-facing camera and other photo sharing applications such as Instagram and Snapchat rose up in popularity around 2010, the “selfie” became a standard for many of these social networking accounts. Best of luck trying to find one person’s social media account that does not include some variation of a “selfie” over time. A poll commissioned by smartphone and camera maker Samsung found that “selfies” make up 30% of the photos taken by people aged 18–24.
The term selfie started as a buzzword but has now become commonplace enough that it was monitored for inclusion in the online version of Oxford English Dictionary and in November 2013 word “selfie” was announced as being the “word of the year” by the Oxford English Dictionary as well.
So we ask, just why are “seflies” so darn popular? The answer is simple. They are easy to create and share and give the photographer complete control over the way in which the present themselves. This can sometimes have positive and negative effects. Most of the time when someone posts a “selfie” they are looking for some kind of flattery or commentary from friends, however this can definitely back-fire when the person (and we all know someone who does this) posts an over abundance of “selfies” and at that point it just becomes an annoyance to their friends. It boils down to the point that these people seem to be only looking for attention. Don’t even get us started about the duck face/kissy face pose that only ends up making most “selfie” takers just look ridiculous! Stop! Stop, now…please!
Everyone from everyday people to celebrities and politicians have jumped on board the “selfie” band wagon. While researching this article, we even stumbled up the Tumblr page, Selfies At Funerals, dedicated to people who have snapped “selfies” of themselves while either getting ready for or attending the funeral for a deceased friend or family member. The Tumblr page features one of the most talked about “selfies” taken by President Obama while attending the memorial service for Nelson Mandala
. BuzzFeed also put together a fantastic selection of some of the absolute best selfies of all time which includes “Pug Shirt Selfie”, the “Meryl/Hillary Selfie” and the “Caught In The Act Selfie” many of which have gone viral on the internet over the last few years.
Actress Meryl Streep is a huge advocate of the “selfie” and her recent “selfie” taken with 50 Cent and Kobe Bryant has recently been titled one of the greatest “selfies” of all time!
“Selfie” are without a doubt one pop culture trend that appears to be here to stay and now hopefully we have shed a little insight as to just how and why this trend exists.