Home Bangalore Me, myself, my #selfie

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    So this is the Year of the Selfie, the dictionary’s most popular new word, (which, according to the Oxford version, means a self-portrait taken with a hand held smartphone and shared in social media. As if you didn’t know!). On social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and every form of self-expression in between, it’s all about that photo you take of yourself – with your favourite film star, your yummiest holiday food, your best dress, your bestie, your most fun party last week… well, you get the drift. A Cambridge University psychology lecturer called the selfie habit “the thrill of narcissism, uncensored by reflection or judgment…leading to impulsive self-promotion.” Really? Then we are a troubled world.
    SAFRICA-MANDELA-MEMORIALAnyway, why shouldn’t one join the gang? Barack Obama has, so has Justin Beiber. Not to mention Narendra Modi, Miley Cyrus (world’s most prolific selfie taking celeb), Paris Hilton, Pope Francis and the Mona Lisa (I kid you not!). No surprises that Kim Kardashian’s #butt #selfie was one of the most popular pics on the Internet until she decided to ‘break it’ with her #nudies. And of course there’s Ellen DeGeneres’ famous multi-celebrity selfie taken at the Oscars earlier this year – the most retweeted photograph ever. There’s even a Selfie TV show and a somewhat banal Selfie pop song by that name (with a video featuring David Hasselhoff, Snoop Dogg and Darth Vader!). At any given time, on your social media timelines, there is bound to be more than a few selfies.
    Pope FrancisAccording to research, 44 per cent of selfies are taken during holidays and 25 per cent of holiday selfie takers do so even before their flight takes off. For serial selfie addicts, Google provides tips on how to take the perfectly flattering holiday selfie. (Don’t pout or smoulder unless you’re trying to be ‘ironic’)
    Even ace photographer Waseem Khan’s Facebook profile features him in selfie mode. He has been shooting selfies even before it was christened ‘selfie’, he says. “Let’s face it — we’ve always wanted to be in every shot, but until now one person had to be left out – the one taking the shot. The selfie takes care of that. Now with fancy gadgets and gadget-savvy people, things are becoming easier. It’s not a fad that’s going away soon.”
    Taking a perfect selfie is quite an art form, Waseem agrees. He has seen some ‘unbelievable’ selfies, he says. “A model in New York sends me the most amazing selfies – perfect makeup, clothes and angle – it’s a joy to see them.” Meanwhile he has a few tips for serial selfie takers: “Think before you shoot. Find a flattering angle, the right lighting, and remember the higher or closer you hold your camera to shoot, the more stretched or wide your face will look.”
    It’s all about selfie-expression in the digital age after all.
    Ruma Singh presents a column on observations, insights and what’s buzzing in the city.
    m firstimpressionbangalore@gmail.com

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