When I got my first ipad a few years ago one of the first things I did was flip the camera and take my very first selfie. I was behind the selfie times and it’s taken me a little while to develop my selfie obsession. Now don’t get me wrong, I know I’m no beauty, so I don’t take selfies to win admirers, nor have I ever with any degree of seriousness pulled one of those duck face pouts, but I do love taking selfies.
I probably take a couple of selfies every day, approximately 90% of my selfies will be deleted within moments of me taking them, but that’s the beauty of selfies, you can self edit as you go along. I take selfies because….
- My hair is on point and I want to capture that moment
- The light is just so and I don’t look like death warmed up, indeed I even look tolerable
- I’m all dressed up and off out and want people to know I don’t actually live in pjs
- I’m happy
- I’m sad
- I’m crying and want to know if I look cute when I cry… I don’t
- I think I look rough and I’m double checking
- To privately document the development of a spot
- I’ve put some make up on (rare)
- To reassure a worried friend that I’m alive and ok
- To pull a series of funny faces to entertain someone
- To practice various facial expressions so I can pull off things like pretending to listen whilst mentally writing a shopping list instead
- Selfies with my son, because no one ever takes pictures of us together
- Because sometimes I’m just cute, ok.
If you go on Instagram and search for “selfie” there are currently 217,597,002 photos with that tag (and that number rises every second). I’m no mathematician or scientist, but that’s a pretty big number and I think it’s reasonable to hypothesise that selfie obsession is a thing.
Here are a random selection of my selfies, I had literally hundreds to choose from, some I like, some are ok, some don’t really look all that much like me, some have been edited (purple eyes anyone?) but I hasten to add, not photoshopped to make me look young, beautiful or thin, but that’s apparent to anyone with eyes.
But what purpose do they serve? Maybe it’s a bit of vanity, some will end up as profile pictures for my various social media accounts, I may instagram the occasional one, send one or two to friends maybe, I don’t know.
I wonder if a misspent youth feeding pound coins into photo booths in Woolworths has forced me and countless others to develop this selfie obsession. Constantly striving to find the perfect passport photo or create a cute picture for your boyfriends wallet; groups of friends squashed like sardines, sat precariously on each others knees, someone shouting “nobody blink – say cheese” as the blinding photobooth flash pops four times in hesitant succession.
It occurs to me that my generation have always been selfie obsessed, it’s just these days the images cost nothing and are easily deleted, posed, fixed, edited and filtered. Smartphones are our photobooths, but we have no comical strip of images to take away and treasure, just a digital footprint, some finely filtered images, perfectly posed pouts lacking the joy of spontaneity, and instagram is filled with 217,597,002 almost identical images.
As much as I mourn for the days of photobooth fun, I couldn’t be without my selfies, but I do wonder in years to come what our grandchildren will think as they scroll through our digital histories and discover just how selfie obsessed we are, and what that says about our lives right now.