The age of the Selfie

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Selfie a form of self-expression has taken the social media by storm. Is it a harmless fad or a sign of growing narcissism? A search on the app Instagram retrieves over 23 million photos uploaded with the hashtag # selfie, and a whopping 51 mllion with the hashtag # me.

It starts with a certain angle,the focus being on the pose.Then it is generously filtered.Outlines are blurred,colors are softened and snap!in an instant you are a pretty picture.As entrepreneur Babita Singh says “Filtered photos are our generation’s way to talk and communicate with each other.”Other than that it is also about feeling good about yourself as Emily Cook an Instagram user from Lincoln,

believes “it’s always nice to document a good hair day, or an outfit you love.” Then comes the likes and the comments which is an instant mood booster .Or we can say selfies are another way the world sees us. On the other hand it has also been shown as a sign of low self-worth.. Often women are criticized for their obsession with looking good and posting selfies. From a negative side selfies can be the result of privacy invasion, self obsession, addiction. It has glorified the importance of physical appearance so much that we all are waiting to seek validation from the world to take that perfect shot.

This has dangerous outcomes too as people who go the extra mile fails to realize the peril they are in until it is too late. According to reports numerous people have died while taking selfies in really dangerous places like cliffs, building tops or swept away by the sea. This also ruins the travel experiences. Today, visiting a place and experiencing is not a personal, intimate experience any more. Rather than soaking in the surroundings ,taking a moment people are eager to click and post a picture and show it to the world.

If we take a leaf from history we find that a tradition in self-portrait in photography is as old as the medium. It seems that from photography’s earliest days, there has been a natural tendency for photographers to turn the camera to themselves. The first photographic selfie as we know it today was taken by Robert Cornelius in 1839. It was not an easy process like today just click and share, He had to set up the camera, run into the frame, sit for five minutes and then sprint back and replace the cap. Then there was also the first- ever selfie which was painted in 1524 using oil on wood. A 21 year old artist Parmigianino depicted his own reflection. This young artist had no idea he was 500 years ahead of a booming trend.

The rise of selfie culture bore testimony to the fact of our evolving mind set and our reliance on social media. We will continue to take pictures as long all these platforms exists in the forms of selfies ,as a means to seek more validation. However social media should not determine who you are. Selfies are a way to document things about yourself or to discover the real you. It is not about how people recognize you and how you create an impression. It is more about telling about what you really feel in that single frame, don’t let it control you instead use it as a tool to develop yourself and your personality.

By: Monali Dam

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