Quick, take a selfie! Our culture has quite the addiction to taking a self portrait and sharing it online. We see all sorts of selfies everywhere on social media. Selfies at work. Selfies at home. Selfies at the gym. Selfies at parties. In and of itself, there is nothing wrong with them. They let you share the moment with your friends and keep a digital record for years to come. But has it gone a little far and strayed into the addiction category?
Over the last few years, it has been common to see huge compilations of fail photos. A lot of them are embarrass-ing or tactless, like taking a selfie with the recently deceased at a funeral. But some have been downright dangerous. It wasn’t that long ago that a guy taking a video selfie had to be kicked off the tracks by a conductor to prevent getting flattened by a train. Then, a mere few weeks ago a man in Spain was killed because he decided that it would be a great idea to take a selfie in the middle of a running of the bulls. Sure, he got a great photo but he also got himself impaled. It’s probably not the lasting legacy he was hoping to leave when they recovered his camera.
It feels like there has been a cultural disconnect and it has left a sour taste in my mouth. I’ve never been a great photographer but I feel some of the standards have slipped. People get in such a rush to put out anything and everything they can, that they don’t stop to think of why. It’s probably fine if you want to put up a quick party picture with your friends. The quality might not be great but even a modest smartphone nowadays has a halfway decent camera built into it. But I don’t think the world cares so much when you are posting the 10th gym photo of the week or a picture of your blender to showcase your new diet. You’ve just got to stop and ask yourself “why?”
There must be a psychological aspect to the whole craze that I am missing. Or maybe it’s just because the world is becoming more globalized and social. To achieve the same sort of status as before, we must make not only a name for ourselves but also to present to the world our faces to be recognized. Now, that’s not to say that selfies don’t have their place. Even before the catch phrase emerged and front cameras on phones were a thing, people have been finding ways of taking their own photograph.
In any case, you don’t need to stop taking your modernized self portraits. But maybe, just maybe, you could pause to think about why you are taking it and why you are posting it before you hit the share button. If anything, it might bring you one step closer to knowing about yourself and gaining a sense of self-actualization.
Joel Leckie, Entertainment Editor
Image: Paško Tomić