A selfie refers to a self portrait taken by a photographer with a smartphone or a digital camera held at the end of the selfie stick. In a world looking for novelty and thirsty for new gadgets and gizmos, the selfie stick came in very useful for smartphone manufacturers to carry their marketing pitch to a newer level. The word ‘selfie’, which essentially was an internet slang word has now entered even the Oxford dictionary.
The selfie stick was actually around for some time. It was the brainchild of Hiroshi Ueda of Minolta Camera Company who invented it in 1980. Minolta thought the selfie stick was a fantastic idea and even patented it but the product was a commercial dud. It was included in the book of 101 useless Japanese inventions.
It was left to Canadian gadget inventor Wayne Fromn who developed the stick further and then started promoting his inventions. Smartphone manufacturers soon took over and made the selfie a craze; the stick is now being sold at astonishing prices and is a favourite with teenagers especially from the Orient.
The introduction of selfies in photography has not been without problems. The English Lawn Tennis Club which hosts the Wimbledon Tennis Championship has banned visitors from carrying the selfie stick. According to the club, the ban was brought in partly because of the nuisance value of selfie sticks but primarily so that it would not interfere with spectators’ enjoyment of the event. The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, London has also prohibited selfies; so has the Palace of Versailles in Paris, the Colosseum in Rome and the Smithsonian Museum in the US. Football clubs like Tottenham Hotspur have prohibited selfie sticks from their ground. Very recently in May 2015, two tourists in Cremona, Italy damaged a 300 year old Italian statue whilst taking selfies. The tourists are facing criminal charges.
How good are pictures taken with selfies? In spite of advances in optical technology which make lenses work better at short distances, selfie pictures are still largely modest in quality. We, at SP, say use a tripod and your camera’s self timer instead. |SP