On Jan. 27, 2011, “#selfie” was born. Just over three years later, there are more than 75 million Instagram photos tagged #selfie and a National #Selfie Portrait Gallery. Furthermore, Oxford Dictionary crowned “selfie” its 2013 Word of the Year after being officially added in August.
Its social media spotlight focused a lot of hatred toward selfies. Some critics cry narcissism, others complain about duckface and cringe at the inappropriate placessome people feel compelled to take selfies (okay, that one’s valid).
As people explore the limits and extraordinary possibilities of selfies every day, it’s time to realize those single-subject pics won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
#Sorrynotsorry, selfie haters.
Selfies have been around for ages.
Nope, think way before MySpace default photos and its characteristic angles. Before the camera self-timer. Before cameras.
In the 15th century, self-portraiture allowed artists to control the images and versions of themselves the public saw. During the Renaissance, commissioned portraiture was standard practice among the era’s elites, a status symbol.
Today, people carry high-definition cameras in their pockets, making it possible to snap photos of themselves whenever, wherever. The selfie barrier to entry is no longer the wealth, time and privilege of a French monarch. The selfie game is close to a level playing field, so go out and play, Marie Antoinette.
A picture’s worth a thousand words.
Remember your high school English teacher’s favorite essay critique, “show not tell?” That’s what selfies do.