I feel pretty comfortable in asserting that Vincent Van Gogh was one of the greatest artists in all of human history. If you were to ask me, I’d tell you he was the best of them all. His use of colour really is simply awe inspiring. To my fortune, I was able to see his famous “Starry Night” on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Nothing but a few feet of air and a thin sheet of glass separated me from that magnificent maelstrom of blue and gold.
However, this *magical* experience was somewhat lessened by the red LEDs and blinding front-flashes darting across the surface of its protective frame. While I sought to savour the experience of seeing one of the world’s most celebrated pieces of art with my own eyes, most of the other patrons, all huddled around emitting snapping-sounds, decided that it would be best viewed through the lens of their iPhone. That is to say, a grainy square of colour behind their right ear featuring their own vacant smile dominating the foreground and an outstretched arm half visible at the bottom of the frame. Not quite as beautiful a replication as Van Gogh might have hoped for.
I suppose I would mind less if they stuck around afterwards to actually get a good, long look at it. But alas, as soon as they’ve snapped their selfie they just pocket their camera and walk off.
This really encapsulates why it is that I dislike selfies. They reduce experiences into events, a mere checklist to work through so that you can tell all of your friends and colleagues that “I’ve been there” and “I’ve seen that”. You insert yourself into your photographs as if there was some doubt that you were ever there at all. Perhaps it also enlarges the importance of the ‘self’ versus the event/scene/gallery – it is undoubtedly the selfie-taker who is the focus of the “Starry Sky”-selfie.
Worse still is the “selfie stick” that I’ve been seeing with worryingly increasing frequency: A telescopic monopod you can clamp your camera into so that you can decapitate pedestrians when you stop to take a selfie in the street. One would assume that such a device was invented so that you could hold your camera an additional arm’s length away, letting you squeeze more into the already overcrowded frame. However, the ergonomics of holding an expensive paperweight on the end of an extensible stick makes holding the damn thing at arm’s length rather unwieldy. At least, that’s the impression I get whenever I see someone with their elbows jammed into their sides trying to offset the weight, all but nullifying the extra reach it gives you (and as any A-level physicist will tell you, making the stick longer would only make the problem worse!)
So the Wand of Narcissus, as some people have taken to calling it, isn’t worth the aluminium that it’s cast from. Luckily for you, dear reader, I’ve designed a suitable replacement: The Selfie Harness! The harness is comprised of three perpendicular, extensible sections, running along your spine, over your head and coming down to face level, all the sections and joints are re-orientable so you can get that 45 degree angle that all selfies need to be shot at. This will give you all the length a selfie stick should give you, provide a stable platform to take your photos from and it even leaves your hands free to throw up the obligatory V signs. It shouldn’t matter all that much that you look ridiculous wearing it. After all, you are taking a selfie; you were always going to look ridiculous.
If you want my advice, next time you want a photo taken of yourself, grab the next bystander who passes by and get them to take it.
IF you wanna, feel free 2 comment your reactions/opinions about selfies below… it is evidently a debatable concept with many citing self esteem/narcissism/peer pressure/aesthetics etc as factors to consider…
by Gabriel Munn, 18, a passionate non-seflie-taker