Throughout history, great moments in time have been captured through still photography. Brave photographers will often put themselves in dangerous situations just to have the chance of getting that one vintage shot that will instill them in eternal glory.
And even if you do stumble upon that one magical moment, there’s still so much more art to it than simply pushing your index finger onto a button. You need the perfect angle, the perfect light, the perfect framing — essentially, it takes an immensely skilled photographer to nail the perfect photo, and plenty of them do exist.
And that’s why there is photography, and then there is photography. People who travel to third-world countries to take photos laugh at those who walk around their local park, snap pictures of birds or water, post it on their blog and then call it “art.” They’re hacks. They’re wannabees. They’re amateurs.
And yet, those amateurs are like fucking Van Gogh compared to anyone who has ever taken a “selfie.”
You’ve all seen it.
One day, you load up your Facebook News Feed and peruse through the usual drivel. An ambiguous status. A check-in from some shitty restaurant. An eCard that maybe would have been funny if it was posted eight months ago before the trend became lame.
But then it only gets worse. You see an extremely close-up, distorted photo where somebody is holding the camera either at themselves — or even worse, into a mirror. This affliction has become known as a selfie.
First and foremost, let’s not act like this is something new. Since the inception of Facebook, people have been posting self-taken photos of themselves. It’s not something that started yesterday. And when smart phones came along, the amount of self-portraits doubled. And now that all phones have the front-photo option, well, it’s officially made Facebook a selfie shitshow.
Let’s move onto some psychoanalysis. Why do people take selifies? Because as most of you noticed, a self-taken photo is actually an awful, awful picture. They’re blurry, dark-lit, faded, way too close to the face, and the person’s arm and phone take up about half the picture. If there was actually a checklist on things not to do when taking a photo, then a selfie violates every single one of them. So it’s not like people take them to enhance their photography skills.
Then why? Well, the answer is quite simple. For attention.
Put it this way — those who take selfies don’t just take one picture. they sit in front of their iPhone and snap dozens. They’ll snap photo after photo, while slightly changing the tilt of the head, the puckering of their lips, and the distance of camera-to-face. Finally, among those myriad photos, there will be one that meets the standards of the photographer.
Next, the selfie-taker will upload it to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, Farmville and whatever social media websites are in existence, and they will sit and wait. They’ll hover around that computer screen like a moth clinging to that last lit light bulb on a hot summer day outside of your friend’s cabin.
When I see these photos, I know. I know that it means that the person just spent a good half-hour of their life snapping photographs of themselves. I know that the camera roll in their phone is littered with their own self portraits. And I know that this person has an over-inflated self-image of their own physical appearance.
And of course they’ll get their share of likes. There’s enough degenerates out there who are stupid enough to not realize the horrible true nature of selfies.
But I’ve yet to discuss the very worst attribute of these photographs — they’ve actually given us the term “selfies.”
Whenever I hear somebody say the word selfie, my lip actually quivers in outrage. When I see it written on Facebook, my leg automatically kicks whatever thing is nearest to me, living or inanimate, and when I see somebody tag such a photo with #SelfieSunday, I physically have a hernia.
It does not make any difference to me how sculpted your six-pack abs are, or how naturally beautiful a girl’s face is, a selfie is a selfie. Seeing one is like seeing a beggar on a New York City street, it just makes you wish that the last three seconds of your life could be blown away from your memory like how Jim Carrey does it in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
A lot of things are fun to do by yourself. Running. Meditation. Sun bathing.
Taking your own picture is not one of them.
Just find a friend to take your picture. Just one goddamn friend.