In defense of the selfie

Every so often, you see people complaining about “selfies”, aka pictures that you take of yourself, usually using your cell phone. But they never give actual reasons why the selfie should be “banned”.  Doing “rigorous” research like I normally do for this blog, I see one guy saying it should be banned because “my giant head completely obscured any cool nature scene” and “Self-portraits are at best uninteresting and at worst annoying”.

So let’s breakdown the complaint about his giant head obscuring anything.  The picture he shows is at a 4:3 ratio.  His Twitter feed reveals he’s an iPhone user.  The last iPhone with a 4:3 front camera resolution was the iPhone 4s.  So in January 2014, this guy who writes about tech was using a phone released in 2011.  Really? You didn’t bother to upgrade to the iPhone5 or iPhone 5s tech writer?  Also, it’s not your head that takes up that picture.  It’s your torso. There’s plenty of room for scenery.  JUST ADJUST THE ANGLE!  With my arm extended and choosing the right angle, I can get my head to take up about 1/6th of the frame (the right third of the bottom half). You know what you can also do? Take a second picture.  Seriously.  Even back in the old days when people developed film and paid for each picture, they’d take pictures of two different scenes.

So onto the next complaint: Self-portraits are at best uninteresting.  I guess if you’re not interested that your friend went on a trip, is a self-portrait or a professional portrait going to change that?  Nope.  You know what is uninteresting?  Pictures of extremely popular things without people in them.

“Oh, you took a picture of the White House?  Interesting.  I wonder what it looks likes.” – No one ever.

If I want to see a picture of the White House, I can just search Google for one.  And it’s probably going to be better quality that whatever someone else took.  If I don’t care about a friend’s trip, whether or not they’re in the picture probably won’t make a difference.  Also, take a look at your yearbook.  It’s pictures of people.  People in pictures make for better memories.

Before the selfie, someone else was taking picture.  It was probably mom or dad.  This means that you’d very rarely have the whole family in the picture.  If you did, it was done either with a self-timer or you had to rely on some stranger taking it for you.  But no one wants to hand a stranger their phone.  That contains a whole bunch of important stuff, it’s very expensive, and it has a high resale value on the black market.

Maybe selfies are one of those things that people want to make fun of because it makes them feel like they’re the Siskel and Ebert of culture.  They’ll mock selfies, Nickelback, tshirts that are actually comfortable, and more just so people think they’re knowledgeable.

Do you think there’s anything wrong with the selfie?

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