Selfies or self-portraits have been with us at least since the invention of the pinhole camera. You can take that as an exaggeration, but the truth is the selfie craze is not a new phenomenon, dating back to 1839 when Roberto Cornelius, a pioneer photographer took the earliest known selfie.
At that time, you probably need to place a giant camera the equivalent of a regular size cement block on your shoulder and stand in front of an equally giant mirror to be to capture your selfie. What’s more tedious than the anxious wait for your photograph to be developed in the dark room?
I am sure the latter generations especially those belonging to the 90s know next to nothing about the era of the dark room blah blahblah. For them, it has always been the instant digital printouts of their pictures…that’s the trend now, not much we can do about it.
So if selfies have been with us since the first “cheeeese” was uttered, why the sudden craze. My answer is very simple. Selfies have become popular due to quality handheld camera devices or smartphones and the eruption of social media especially Facebook, Instagram etc…
The appeal of selfies comes from how easy they are to create and share as well as the control it gives self-photographers over how they present themselves. Truth be told; many selfies are intended to present a flattering image of a person, especially to friends.
Back in the day, I remember “selfieing” was as a result of improvising when there’s no second person to take the shot. Fast forward to today’s world, no one wants to miss out on a memorable picture especially at social gatherings. So they selfie or groufie, that is, if you prefer to continue on that trend.
Everybody loves selfies
It’s hard to spot a person who hasn’t a selfie or two. That will be weird. Celebrities, it doesn’t matter whether they are local or foreign, flood their social media pages with selfies now and then.
But selfieng was taken to a higher level when US President Barack Obama was snapped taking a selfie and sharing smiles with Danish Prime Minister HelleThorning-Schmidt, and later with British Prime Minister David Cameron, as they gathered to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela.
The list of high profile selfies is endless, and it won’t be complete without a mention of Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie orchestrated by 86th Academy Awards this year. The image has since become the most retweeted image ever after it reached more than 3.5 million retweets.
So popular is the craze that selfie has inspired a song from local music group VVIP. The “Selfie” track became an instant hit and currently enjoying good airtime. There have been times musicians have attempted riding on popular catch phrases to success. While many failed, VVIP’s Selfie is an exception to that rule.
Selfies as a selling point
Unlike many technology craze, it appears selfies will be around for a long, long time. Nowadays many people lookout for a high-quality front facing camera in buying a new mobile handset. High megapixels should translate into superb selfies.
Mobile phone manufacturers are trying hard to ride on the wave by giving selfies lovers exactly what they need for a good selfieing time. Apart from making deliberate tweaks to the front facing cameras, they have also come up with interesting features that take selfies to a little notch higher.
Anybody familiar with the recent additions to the Lumia family will testify to the enhanced selfieng qualities of the handsets.
Responding to the needs of its growing selfie lovers, Microsoft outdoored the Lumia 730 nicknamed the “selfie phone” --the first smartphone designed with selfies and Skype video calls in mind. The devices comes with a stunning 5 MP front-facing camera and makes room for a wide-angle shots as well. This is to ensure that the finer details are captured no regardless of how wide they are from the lens.
The Lumia 730 also known as Microsoft’s first selfie Smartphone comes with a full High Definition 5megapixel front facing camera for users to take perfect selfies and share quickly and easily on their social networks, while the Lumia 830 with its sleek and elegant look, brings Microsoft’s flagship style and performance to more people with integrated Microsoft experiences and superior PureView imaging.
In addition to that, there is also a standalone app for selfies that users can access more quickly than the standard method, which is to enter the regular Lumia Camera and swipe over to the front-facing shooter.
Additionally, the app offers plenty of post-image editing options, like filters, skin enhancements and even tools to slim down your face and blur out the background.
But what these apps fail to teach users is where to take the perfect selfie leaving everything to the user. Don’t be surprised when you’re using a public washroom and you hear a “click”. It’s more likely to be someone selfieng and nothing aimed at you.
Sadly, there have been times where people have plunged to death on the edges of cliffs and bridges while chasing that perfect selfie. Users must be mindful of their immediate environment when taking a selfie especially in areas where there’s a significant risk to the user's life.
Of course, nobody wants their last selfie to be used as “What a Shock” obituary.Happy selfieing.