The present generation is smitten by this rather unique practice; needless to say how ubiquitous it has become− a must do for travelers, party goers and the simpleton alike− yes you know exactly we are talking about, the ‘Selfie’. This simple act of clicking one’s own picture has managed to permeate beyond all the paradigms of social practices. And not to forget, the ‘Selfie-stick’, the average teen’s favourite product.
But have we ever wondered how the ‘selfie’ and the ‘selfie-stick’ inconspicuously became an integral part of our lifestyle. Well, if you haven’t, here’s how:
The Concept of Selfie, Selfie-stick
To know what exactly a selfie stick is, one must understand what a ‘Selfie’ is; and a selfie, by definition, is a self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a digital camera or camera phone held in the hand or supported by a selfie stick.
The First Selfie Ever
Now all of us have been taking selfies since God knows when, but to precisely know when the first selfie was taken since human knowledge we had to dig deep into the pages of history of Photography. And thus found that Robert Cornelius, an American pioneer in photography, produced a daguerreotype of himself in 1839 which is also one of the first photographs of a person ever taken.
How it all began in the new Gen
Well that was the history of selfies but one will surely not remember ‘selfie’ as a photographic term as they grew up, so how did the gen Y get the hang of it?
Well, Flickr users used ‘selfies’ to describe seemingly endless self-portraits posted by teenage girls. The front-facing camera of the iPhone 4 (2010), mobile photo apps such as Instagram, selfie videos on YouTube and Snapchat led to the resurgence of selfies in the early 2010s and the rest as we all know is history. It so happened that in 2012 the Time magazine considered ‘selfie’ as one of the top 10 buzzwords of that year.
Number of selfies taken on an average
Youngsters on an average spend FIVE HOURS a week taking selfies; and one out of every five taken are uploaded on social media. Females, as per statistics, aged 16-25 are the most prolific selfie-takers.
An average of 48 minutes are spent daily to take innumerable selfies− a survey suggests that approximately 15-20 selfies are taken in each session and day may have 2-4 sessions or even more occasionally. So that gives a rough figure of 70-80 selfies per person per day.
Imagine the horror if we were still stuck in the days of Kodak films.
Selfie stick – where and how did it come to existence?
Homemade selfie sticks could date back as early as 1925. The 1983 “Minolta Disc-7” camera had a convex mirror on its front to allow the composition of self-portraits, and its packaging showed the camera mounted on a stick while used for such a purpose. A “telescopic extender” for compact handheld cameras was patented in U.S. in 1983, and a Japanese selfie stick was featured in a 1995 book of “101 Un-Useless Japanese Inventions”.
Canadian inventor Wayne Fromm patented his ‘Quik Pod’ in 2005 and becoming commercially available in the United States the following year.
Price of selfie sticks – cheapest to most expensive
Now we Indians can’t just do without knowing the price of something we eagerly want or already have, can we? Well the least one can pay to get their hands on a selfie stick would be approximately Rs. 160, it is one of those Chinese mass produced products. At the same time someone with an eye for quality can indulge about Rs.3000 for a professional excellent quality non-bending selfie stick. And ofcourse there’s a plethora of options in between.
The Unpleasant Effects of Selfie Syndrome
As much fun it might be to click endless selfies, sometimes in a rather sad state of affairs, the quest for a perfect selfie has resulted in death. Yes, Death! So far there have been 12 deaths this year because of this narcissistic syndrome to click the perfect selfie, mainly to show off to one’s friends.
A teenage boy by the name Danny Bowman even tried committing suicide after he failed to capture the perfect selfie- “Taking selfies frequently, editing them and sharing them on social network sites have found to be highly correlated with narcissistic personality disorder and self-objectification,”says Shamoita Bose, a student of Psychology.
Selfie and Kolkata
To put in context, Pranadhika Sinha Devburman, a noted social activist from the city says that she clicks approximately 20 selfies a day, sometimes the numbers are higher if there’s an occasion. And on an average she uploads 2-3 selfies out of the bunch of 20-30 selfies clicked.
Selfie sticks have become a common phenomenon− from finding itself in the hands of a teen girl to a professional landscape photographer, the selfie stick has caused a revolution in the world of photography and its evolution is to be reckoned with. It so happens that we no longer ask for autographs if and when we meet our favourite celebrities, we ask for a selfie, such is the power of this rather unusual phenomenon in the society today.