Elevating the Selfie


By Rachel Simons

Photo courtesy of elPadawan.

According to many parents, baby boomers, and other older members of society, it is not global warming, nuclear war, or the collapse of the global economy that will bring about the end of civilization as we know it. Instead, it will be the millennial generation’s annoying habit of taking out their camera phones at an event, party, or simply when they feel that they look good, and snapping a self-portrait.

Enhancing this infuriating trend is a not-so-new invention called the selfie stick. Based off of traditional camera stands, a selfie stick is a metal rod that you can attach to your phone and hold away from you to capture different angles and wider backgrounds for an advanced selfie-taking experience.

While you can probably make one yourself out of a phone holder and any sort of long pole, consumers in Manhattan are dishing out $25 a piece for these things so that their Time Square selfies can contain all the jumbo screens and be even more touristy than they were before.

One reporter from eWEEK made the usual whining complaints that instead of buying selfie sticks or taking selfies in general, young people should ask others to take their photo for enhanced “social interaction.” If he went to Times Square during prime tourist hours and offered to take each passerby’s photo, his opinion would probably change in less than 15 minutes.

The concept that these naysayers fail to grasp is that a selfie can carry the same meaning that its predecessor the self-portrait did. Painters would labor over their canvasses for extended periods of time, wanting to present the world with the exact image of how they saw themselves. In many ways, the selfie reproduces this artistic tradition on a smaller, more simplistic scale.

In a consumerist society like ours where individuals are constantly told that they need to change and fix themselves, the camera phone gives users the opportunity to create a self-generated image that tells the world that this is how they want to be viewed.

Yes selfie sticks do look silly, but they are also expanding the possibilities of what a selfie can be. Instead of just capturing the head and torso, full figure shots and photos with added depth are now no longer out of the realm of possibility. The old folks can grumble all they want, but the selfie and its respective stick are definitely here to stay.