NY Times: You're Pointing Your Camera the Wrong Way

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cramej

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Interestingly enough, the selfie solves a problem that photographers have faced since the beginning - not being in the photo. There are a number of family events that you won't see me in because I'm behind the camera. It helps to be able to hand it off to my wife occasionally so at least there is some record of me existing :smile: . Same goes for vacations, too. Many times, the place is less important than the people and taking selfies is part of the memory. However, I wholeheartedly agree with the author that the pursuit of selfies is wildly out of control.
 

Moose22

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@cramej , I don't see this as a problem. I see it as a benefit! Photography is a view from the eyes of the person using the camera. And, for me, I like that fact. For others, you are absolutely correct. Thus remotes, timers, and other methods of framing a tripod shot and running to join the posed crowd.

Selfies... ugh. I hate the view, I hate the look, I hate the pose. It's a view through the eyes of someone, but that someone who is constantly staring at themselves in a mirror. It sets off something visceral in me that makes me see the poser/photographer with distaste.

One of the most ingenious inventions that I absolutely hate is the selfie stick. Solves myriad problems a lot of people were having in a simple way. Absolutely the best sort of invention. God I despise them. But they handle the selfie problem way better than timers and tripods in the pre-phone days.

Years ago I saw a comedian talking about people's social media compared to the days of film cameras. He remembered growing up and meeting friends after they'd taken a trip. You'd look at someone's vacation album and there'd be a picture of the view, a picture of the car, a picture of some people you met, pictures of the family in front of tourist spots, etc. If someone did social media by printing it and putting it in an album, what impression would that photo album give you? You'd think they were a psychopath. Flipping page after page "This is my face, this is my face, this is my face, this is my face, this is my face..."
 

Helge

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Interestingly enough, the selfie solves a problem that photographers have faced since the beginning - not being in the photo. There are a number of family events that you won't see me in because I'm behind the camera. It helps to be able to hand it off to my wife occasionally so at least there is some record of me existing :smile: . Same goes for vacations, too. Many times, the place is less important than the people and taking selfies is part of the memory. However, I wholeheartedly agree with the author that the pursuit of selfies is wildly out of control.

It’s never been hard to do a considered selfportrait or do a group with the photographer included. Remote triggers are as old as photography almost. Indeed the “bulb” in bulb exposure is a rubber squeeze bulb to trigger the shutter while you moved away from the camera and maybe included yourself.

The global problem is the raging, mechanical unattended and largely unaddressed and willfully ignored narcissism, front and center in the selfie phenomena.

It’s like a chimp getting a shiny chrome object, say a coffee pot. Instead of exploring what possibilities and potential there is in the new object, they instead use it only to study their own reflection.
 

Sirius Glass

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I could not read the article. :sad:
 
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Pieter12

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Interestingly, selfie sticks are prohibited in many places as they can be a hazard to others. The smart-phone photographer being so absorbed in their own image on the phone, there is the possibility of hitting other people in crowded spaces, even damaging artwork in museums.
 

momus

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If someone did social media by printing it and putting it in an album, what impression would that photo album give you? You'd think they were a psychopath. Flipping page after page "This is my face, this is my face, this is my face, this is my face, this is my face..."

Thank you. This is spot on. "Social" media is unsocial by it's very nature. People are, to me, ruining their lives w/ that, and not doing society any favors either. And no, this isn't a sign of me being old, it's a sign of me not being stupid. Well, about that anyway. It's creating a culture of supercharged narcissists.

It does have a positive side though. For 40 years I had blamed myself for a marriage that had failed. Then one day someone suggested I get on facebook. So I tried, and their software asked me to put in the names of my facebook friends. Of course I didn't have any at that point, so out of the blue I put in that woman's name.

Shazam, there was this picture of a person who may have been her. 40 years is a long time, but the eyes gave it away. We exchanged messages and I hopped on a train to go see her. After only a few hours I remembered why I was never home much during that marriage!
 

Sirius Glass

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I find selfies even more boring than the boring portraits.
 

Daniela

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Selfies... ugh. I hate the view, I hate the look, I hate the pose. It's a view through the eyes of someone, but that someone who is constantly staring at themselves in a mirror. It sets off something visceral in me that makes me see the poser/photographer with distaste.

One of the most ingenious inventions that I absolutely hate is the selfie stick. Solves myriad problems a lot of people were having in a simple way. Absolutely the best sort of invention. God I despise them. But they handle the selfie problem way better than timers and tripods in the pre-phone days.

Years ago I saw a comedian talking about people's social media compared to the days of film cameras. He remembered growing up and meeting friends after they'd taken a trip. You'd look at someone's vacation album and there'd be a picture of the view, a picture of the car, a picture of some people you met, pictures of the family in front of tourist spots, etc. If someone did social media by printing it and putting it in an album, what impression would that photo album give you? You'd think they were a psychopath. Flipping page after page "This is my face, this is my face, this is my face, this is my face, this is my face..."
You have put into words things I wasn't even aware of in myself. I have the same response with selfies, I cringe. It's visceral.
And the issue with narcissism goes deeper when we take into account that no one takes just one selfie. They take more and then stare at their faces some more to choose the one where they look best. And then, it's posting time, so that they can read comments/get likes for that. Posting and getting feedback is part of the process...I post, therefore I am?

I think that the girl described in the article describes a lot of people's experiences. And I'd bet that the natural evolution of this is that the meaninglessness of me-posting repeatedly and getting quick likes (but no meaningful interaction/result) will eventually lead people to turn the camera towards the much more interesting and changing world. I can't see how that couldn't happen...
 

Helge

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Hiroshi Ueda of Minolta invented the selfie stick in 83 for their newly launched Disc cameras (the camera even had a convex mirror on the front to aid framing).

26CCE3EC-4341-48A7-B8ED-15BA900BF2A3.jpeg
F70430FD-5320-465E-BA57-19283A599710.jpeg



Notice the photo is of a group not of a person.
 
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KitosLAB

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I find selfies even more boring than the boring portraits.
This girl bought from me a camera Lubitel 166B with a self-timer. Together with film Svema32 overdue for 30 years. This is a selfie, but I don't find it boring))) Two points seemed important to me in the article - the ability to see without a camera and the ability to direct the camera.
P/S By the way, why did the Lubitel have an index of 166? Everything is simple 1 frame 6 x 6 cm.
 

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Pieter12

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Another phenomenon I associate with selfies is what I call the "selfie pose." People put on self-conscious proses and expressions that they have practiced for the camera making it difficult to get a natural shot of them.
 

Sirius Glass

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Another phenomenon I associate with selfies is what I call the "selfie pose." People put on self-conscious proses and expressions that they have practiced for the camera making it difficult to get a natural shot of them.

There is a big difference between a selfie and putting the camera on self timing and moving a short distance away for a photograph.
 

BrianShaw

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Interesting... yep... it's an opinion.. an intersting observation of some elements of today's society. Just like the myriad other opinions it is, um, opinionated. At least this person has a name, face, and can sell their opinion to a reputable organization rather than just being a nameless, faceless entity writing anonymously from the depths of the internet.
 

BrianShaw

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There is a big difference between a selfie and putting the camera on self timing and moving a short distance away for a photograph.

Difference? Please describe what you think is so bigly different. To me it's about the same. Neither is any different from handing camera/phone to a stranger and asking them to "take my/our picture".
 

Sirius Glass

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Difference? Please describe what you think is so bigly different. To me it's about the same.

The arm is not outstreteched and the photographs look generally better, but still posed.
 
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Pieter12

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Difference? Please describe what you think is so bigly different. To me it's about the same. Neither is any different from handing camera/phone to a stranger and asking them to "take my/our picture".
For me, the big difference is the subject can see themselves and the pose/expression when taking a selfie. Unless the subject has practiced modeling in front of a mirror, or seen a lot of photos of themselves, they may be less conscious of how they look in front of the camera. That affects it dramatically IMO.
 

BrianShaw

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For me...

I understand. What I also understand is most selfies are "I was here" themed and quite what the creator intended. So what does it mattter what we think about their photography? Other htan the fact that it is good fodder for grumpy photo forum chatter. :smile:
 
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