The ‘selfie’ is the worst thing to happen to photography in long time

I couldn’t help it; I just had to take a selfie for this column. I look stoic, yet approachable, don’t you think?  Photo by Derrick Knutson, of Derrick Knutson
I couldn’t help it; I just had to take a selfie for this column. I look stoic, yet approachable, don’t you think?
Photo by Derrick Knutson, of Derrick Knutson

My guess is that at least half of you reading this column, maybe more, are on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Myspace — that’s still a thing, right? — or some other social media site.

I’m not exactly sure when these sites became bombarded with overt narcissism — maybe shortly after cellphones started having a feature that allows a person to take a photo of oneself while looking at a live screen to ensure the photo is composed correctly.

There’s even a colloquial term for this sort of photography: the selfie.

Anyone who is a member of a social networking site and has more than a handful of friends on that site likely has at least one acquaintance who just can’t stop using this feature on his or her phone.

There are all sorts of selfie pictures. Here are a couple of examples:

• The “I got a new haircut” selfie.

If someone is going from 12-inch hair to completely bald, I think that might warrant a picture, but I do not want to know every time you got your bangs trimmed or tips frosted.

• The “Here’s my face at a different angle” selfie.

If you want to take one photo of yourself to set as your profile picture, fine, but I do not want to see 25 pictures of your head at slightly different angles and lighting situations.

• The “OMG, Instagram is the greatest thing ever!” selfie.

The world of photography, in my opinion, has been marred by the advent of Instagram. Essentially, this app, available for most mobile devices, allows the users to apply Photoshop-like filters to photos they’ve taken to give them a myriad of effects, ranging from old-timey to vignettes to intentional blur.

Now throngs of people with cell phone cameras and the Instagram app think they’re Ansel Adams, except instead of hiking through the national parks and taking photos of nature, they sit at home on their couches and snap self headshots that they think make themselves look stoic, yet approachable.

But these eye-catching photos aren’t good enough to post online straight off the camera phone, oh no.

They’re in need of an Instragram filter that makes it look like the pictures were taken with a film camera then stuffed in a shoebox for 35 years to get that “aged” effect.

• The “I’m better looking than you” selfie.

This type of photo is generally reserved for conceited celebrities and people who take photos of their arms at gyms.

These are the same type of people who have their Nike+ apps linked to their social media accounts so all their online friends can know they run 8 miles before 7 a.m. every day.

• The “taken in a bathroom” selfie.

Don’t do this, just don’t. If you’re ever in a bathroom and feel the urge to take a photo of yourself, either clothed or non-clothed, please fight that urge.

This type of photograph is also closely linked with the “I got a new haircut” selfie, because people who take photos of themselves in bathrooms are often doing this to show the world they’re having stellar hair days.

For those self photographers out there: The next time you feel the need to take a photo of yourself to show off your bouncy new haircut, toned body or that new angle you’ve found at which to tilt your head, please refrain because it makes you look massively self-absorbed.

If you really must use the self photo feature on your phone, grab a friend, dog, cat, parrot, shark — anything living, really — to be in the photo with you. Just hope with all your might that the other being in the photo isn’t having a better hair day than you.

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