Who would have thought that an amateur self portrait taken by aiming one’s front camera at themselves may be one of the most monumental advances in photography and culture to date. Selfies are seen everywhere nowadays, plastered all over social media. People even create novels with selfie only content, thanks Kim Kardashian! Selfies have become a cultural phenomenon, yet, unfortunately, selfies are doing more harm than good.
I believe that the evolution of selfie culture has led to narcissism and objectification. Due to the rise of social media, people are moved to upload photos of themselves, but I believe this is a cry for self-validation and narcissism.
Is Apple to blame? If it was not for the iPhone 4, featuring the new front camera, maybe I wouldn’t be writing about how an innocent selfie has done more harm than good.
While the culture surrounding selfies can be looked at as positive, or even creative self-expression, selfies bring up disturbing issues and important questions about human nature, which goes back to the first century BC. In Book III of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, we meet Narcissus, a young handsome man, whom all the nymphs love, but he does not understand why, and wishes they would leave him alone. One day he leans over to take a drink of water from a pond and sees his reflection for the first time; he fell in love. In contemporary society, when one takes a selfie, they do not die, unlike Narcissus, but we all are first-class narcissists mesmerized by our own image.
Many admit that when you take a good photo you are eager to upload it- I know I am! If someone were to go back to 1863 and explain what the future is like, they would have to say “we carry handheld devices around, that have the power to connect to the world, oh and we can take pictures of ourselves and share them with strangers all day long.” Yup, that’s us. But when this person goes on to explain the selfie stick and selfie phone case that provides the “perfect” selfie lighting is when we really should sound the alarm and ask ourselves “what have we become?”.