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

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Pieter12

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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:
...and a NY Times opinion piece.
 

Sirius Glass

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I'M NOT GRUMPY! :mad:
 

Moose22

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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:

What does it matter what you think about what it matters to people here?

It's a discussion of different views on photography and people's reactions to them. If you follow your logic to its end nobody would discuss anything, anywhere. Seemingly meaningless chatter is the fundamental basis for human society.

I find it interesting because I like an emotional response to my images. Understanding how I respond, and how others respond, to seeing a certain type of image informs my composition. Selfies are just an extension of that, one more pose and camera angle.
 
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Vivian Meier was in love with herself. She took many pictures standing in front of mirrors, even two of them like below. So she wasn;t much different than other people despite the claims she was.


132de62249707628437f3612845b425e.jpeg


 

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I agree with you, @moose22… meaningless chatter is the fundamental basis for human society. Thank you for your recent contribution to human society! :smile:
 

Helge

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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:

Far from always. Most are of the variety: “Look how pretty I am, and here is the Washington Monument in the background, or my fabulous living room”.
A tonne are from would be “influencers”, including those grumpy old men.

If you really need a simple memento and proof you’ve been a certain place. Just take a simple photo. It’l be unique enough, without you in front to spoil the view. Perhaps include a person you’re with and you like, if you need a personal element.

Self absorbed selfies will always look self absorbed, not have any merit as art, high or low, mundane or profound.
Just ultimately sad.

What’s more the “it’s just old grumpy men” card is waaaay too easy to pull, and is a stealth screen and stupid pseudo shutdown for heinous aesthetic and social crimes.
Similar to “OK Boomer” which is really a retorical boomerang rather than anything else, broadcasting that the person is not willing to think, engage in fruitful discussion or in civil
society at all.
Furthermore you really have no way of knowing the real age of anyone on here, unless they told you specifically.
Not that is would or should matter terribly much.

Vivian Meier was in love with herself. She took many pictures standing in front of mirrors, even two of them like below. So she wasn;t much different than other people despite the claims she was.


132de62249707628437f3612845b425e.jpeg



There was always some art or cleverness to her selfportraits. That is a crucial and fundamental difference.
And it’s famously not for Instagram or perhaps not even for herself, since the majority of her great photos are not printed and others still wasn’t even developed.
 
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warden

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I take a selfie with most rolls of film.

So often there is one exposure left at the end of the roll when I get home, and there is a circular mirror near the front door of my house, so I frame and shoot. I usually look tired, sweaty etc so not flattering for sure.

Nobody ever sees these images of me, and probably never will, and that's cool. But I have some pictures from past generations of my family here, and think it would have been great if they would have done as I do so I could see them as they really were, rather than posed and grinning in front of a new Buick or whatever.

As for the selfies that the author discusses, well ok I get her point but I think she does a disservice to many of these people who are likely also making images of non-selfie content in their travels. Not everyone is vapid and self focused, even in these times.
 
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I have taken several courses where the instructor required everyone to take and include a self-portrait to turn in with the assignment. Part of that was to make it easier to identify the student, part a bit of a challenge to make a different portrait each time.
 

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@Helge, you puzzle me. “Grumpy” in my post was a modifier for “photo forum chatter”. You are the only one mentioning grumpy old men playing cards and boomers. Not sure where that came from… but your opinions on that topic are quite good.
 

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What’s more the “it’s just old grumpy men” card is waaaay too easy to pull, and is a stealth screen and stupid pseudo shutdown for heinous aesthetic and social crimes.

Huh?
 

Helge

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@Helge, you puzzle me. “Grumpy” in my post was a modifier for “photo forum chatter”. You are the only one mentioning grumpy old men playing cards and boomers. Not sure where that came from… but your opinions on that topic are quite good.

I might have put words in your mouth or at least intentions where there were none. But the fuddy-duddy, grumpy boomer trope and get out card definitely is strong on this forum. In many cases self inflicted I suspect.


As in getting away with murder by just pulling the “they banned rock and roll” card.
It really has been decades since any youth culture or popculture movement was actually subversive or creative.
 

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I’m just an old recovered 70’s hippie. I didn’t get worked up over Piss Christ and I sure can’t get worked up about this.

And never mind that folks are playing fast and loose with the term “narcissism” again. Slow learners.

I’m going to head on over to the Classified to see what else I can’t buy.
 

Helge

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I’m just an old recovered 70’s hippie. I didn’t get worked up over Piss Christ and I sure can’t get worked up about this.

And never mind that folks are playing fast and loose with the term “narcissism” again. Slow learners.

I’m going to head on over to the Classified to see what else I can’t buy.

“Narcisism” is indeed very overused. But here it’s in its original, basic meaning as in self-infatuation and exhibitionism.
 
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Mike Lopez

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As in getting away with murder by just pulling the “they banned rock and roll” card.
It really has been decades since any youth culture or popculture movement was actually subversive or creative.
Well that’s…certainly an opinion. But this whole thread will be shut down soon enough anyway. Meh.
 

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As is often the case, the author describes selfie-ism (?) as age-related: "anyone in Portia's generation." Sadly, Ms Renkl doesn't seem to get out much. At typical tourist locations, it's the above-40 crowd selfifying, more than their juniors. It's a common sight on the boardwalks, a wee tripod set up while mom is vamping.

Meanwhile, I've recenty seen a lot of teens (esp girls) who are not making selfies, but instead shooting social-media-aimed together -- simultaneously "let's go get to the shop & I'll pose and you pose kawaiiii! 🤩"

Here's some from just last week or so - no special location or view, just a slurpee and phones working through stock mannerisms. I guess they get points for using the bus kiosks as framing devices.

bjorke_TPE_MONO7608c.jpg
 

snusmumriken

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Vivian Meier was in love with herself. She took many pictures standing in front of mirrors, even two of them like below. So she wasn;t much different than other people despite the claims she was.

I don’t think you can reasonably draw that conclusion, Alan. She habitually dressed in a dowdy way and other personal habits (eg greasing her hair) did nothing to help her appearance. However, she was clearly very conscious of the properties of the photographic medium, and inspired by other photographers (most of whom had taken the odd selfie now and again). So I think selfies were for Maier an amusing experiment through which she developed her technique and explored a particular artistic discipline (constant subject, diverse approaches). I see a lot of humour in them too.
 

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As is often the case, the author describes selfie-ism (?) as age-related:

And the author also carries a lot of assumptions about the attitude of the people she sees taking selfies. She seems to think the natural (and maybe the human-made) world exists for those people as only a backdrop for their self-obsessed viewpoint. But my experience with younger people suggests they take such photos almost like taking notes. It's not a keepsake. It's a potential form of communication.
The author has forgotten that, for the entire generation that has grown up with the internet as assumed infrastructure, every aspect of the natural world (and all the monuments and so on) can already be seen at any time.
As for being turned down when she offered to take the picture of the couple who were taking a selfie, she assumes it would have been significantly the same photo, just better composed, better framed - but it would not be. It lacks the intimacy and the "look-and-feel" of a selfie (which is immediately recognizable, a readable statement to anyone who sees it of them being together in that moment and place). If anything, for the people taking the selfie, the posed, removed photo taken by a stranger has more of the feeling of making the surroundings merely a backdrop. It doesn't occur to the author that, for that couple, the posed photo is the one that feels less authentic and less significant.
 
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And the author also carries a lot of assumptions about the attitude of the people she sees taking selfies. She seems to think the natural (and maybe the human-made) world exists for those people as only a backdrop for their self-obsessed viewpoint. But my experience with younger people suggests they take such photos almost like taking notes. It's not a keepsake. It's a potential form of communication.
The author has forgotten that, for the entire generation that has grown up with the internet as assumed infrastructure, every aspect of the natural world (and all the monuments and so on) can already be seen at any time.
As for being turned down when she offered to take the picture of the couple who were taking a selfie, she assumes it would have been significantly the same photo, just better composed, better framed - but it would not be. It lacks the intimacy and the "look-and-feel" of a selfie (which is immediately recognizable, a readable statement to anyone who sees it of them being together in that moment and place). If anything, for the people taking the selfie, the posed, removed photo taken by a stranger has more of the feeling of making the surroundings merely a backdrop. It doesn't occur to the author that, for that couple, the posed photo is the one that feels less authentic and less significant.

That's an interesting observation, Don, something I never thought of. I figure that selfies can be just vanity. Or they can be a way of connecting where a person is at a moment in time. Are they posing intimate for their boyfriends? What kind of selfies do they take in the privacy of their own homes? :wink:

As an aside, as a New Yorker, I often see tourist couples taking pictures of each other with the appropriate background - Empire State Bldg, Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, Statue of Liberty, etc. . I offer my services to shoot both of them with their camera and don't recall ever being refused. They much rather have both of themselves in the picture with the background. I make sure I take a couple that shows two views that they can select from later. But these aren't selfies as you describe and could certainly be shown to friends and families unlike private selfies.
 

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But these aren't selfies as you describe and could certainly be shown to friends and families unlike private selfies.

I think that's why the author got turned down, because the couples wanted selfies, not posed shots. But those selfies aren't necessarily private - they're likely to send them to other people or post them on social media. I think we here are more inclined to think of photos as something in themselves rather than as secondary to communication. But more and more, photos are augmenting any written communication - and even spoken communication - between people, particularly younger people who have been enculturated through the use of smart phones.
 
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I think that's why the author got turned down, because the couples wanted selfies, not posed shots. But those selfies aren't necessarily private - they're likely to send them to other people or post them on social media. I think we here are more inclined to think of photos as something in themselves rather than as secondary to communication. But more and more, photos are augmenting any written communication - and even spoken communication - between people, particularly younger people who have been enculturated through the use of smart phones.

I suppose it's like when I add a smilie to a text or post. It adds character and additional feelings to the words.
 

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Interesting article and brings up several points worth commenting on which already have been on this thread. I don’t really care what people choose to take pictures of but I can see why sociologists/psychologists (armchair or otherwise) might want to make something out it.

For me, I don’t really see much difference between photos of someone standing in front of the Eiffel Tower shot be someone else or one generated by a selfie. Without discussing them with the photographer I assume that the intent of the image was the same, to document “I/we was/were here.”

Back in the mid- to late-1970s I worked as a tech in a photofinishing lab and easily saw thousands upon thousand of images on every shift I worked. One of the most common genres was the “people in front of the tourist attraction.” Sometimes it’s a solo person, other times it’s a group. It was unknown whether the image was taken by a passing stranger, a member of the group elected to remain out of the shot, or if the use of a self-timer facilitated inclusion. The banality of these images is probably lost on their owners who are happy to share the returned prints with others, declaring, “see where we were,” before the images ended up in photo album that serves as a reminder of younger times.

The selfie, usually detected due to the angle and distance from someone, is the only difference and exists because the technology allows It. In other words, it’s really nothing new, just a modern twist on an old technique.
 

VinceInMT

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….But more and more, photos are augmenting any written communication - and even spoken communication - between people, particularly younger people who have been enculturated through the use of smart phones.

Probably because we more easily can compared to the past. In those pre-digital days, one would have to write a letter on paper, have reprints made, dig up an envelope and postage, then physically get it into the postal system. Those are lots of gumption traps compared to the ease that one can attach an image to an email, or to a forum discussion.

One aspect of these trends is that, in the past, when you got a photo of Aunt Tilly at Disneyland, you were pretty much assured that Aunt Tilly had been to Disneyland. With digital editing, anyone can be anywhere these days without actually being there.
 
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