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'Selfie' trend is against all my photographic instincts

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: March 12, 2014

By Geoff Browne

Comments (1)

DID you see that selfie all those film stars took at the Oscars?

Apparently so many people circulated it that it caused Twitter to crash.

As the ultimate group close-up self-portrait, it might mark the peak of the trend for taking selfies on phones and tablets, because it will take some beating, not only for the number but also for the status of the people involved.

That is, unless people start a new Guinness record category, most people in a selfie on a phone.

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I usually ignore trends. After all, most are merely passing fads.

I've always had longish hair, regardless of the prevailing fashion. When crew cuts were the thing, I was out of fashion with long hair, and when men suddenly affected those bouffant styles of the Seventies I was still out of fashion because my hair was too short for the trend.

I can, by the way, ignore celebs as well as trends, especially those who get uppity, but I'm so far out of tune with popular culture that I've no idea who half the people are who appear in celebrity programmes anyway.

But I have met many people in the public eye, which usually means on TV all the time, who don't let fame go to their heads.

They remain down to earth and approachable and some treat it all as a big joke, and simply accept their good fortune for as long as it lasts.

The reality of trends is that by the time the mass of people have latched on, the real trendies have already moved on to the next trend.

I certainly won't be joining the selfie trend. It is against all my photographic instincts. The basic rule of taking a portrait is not to have the camera too close to the subject.

Taking a picture too close distorts the features, which is something you now see a lot of on TV, thanks to the camera crew habit of thrusting wide-angle lenses under people's noses.

A self-portrait used to require a tripod and a camera with delayed action, and you had to be able to sprint from tripod to position inside 10 seconds without knocking the whole lot over.

Too close or not, the phone camera has done away with all that. It's another example of how new technology changes the way we do things.

Children are so in tune with the new technology that they use phone cameras instinctively all the time. I must be a paid-up dinosaur, because it's a feature I never think of using. I want a proper camera with more controls.

When digital cameras were merely trendy, before they became the modern reality of photography, people paid a lot of money to have the latest model, even though the specs were relatively modest.

Like all things digital, cameras advanced in quality and spec almost daily and the latest trend was soon overtaken by something twice as good at half the price.

Digital cameras long ago ceased to be trendy and have become the staple tool of the newspaper and many other trades.

I've got an inexpensive, untrendy, pocket-size digital camera which never ceases to amaze me with its capabilities.

I dare say it would it take a good selfie...

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  • janiejjj2014  |  April 10 2014, 3:19PM

    In response to Geoff Brownes article 'selfie trend is against all my photographic instincts' (Post and times March 12th 2014) After reading your article Mr Browne (ironically which seems to a large extent - be about yourself.. goes onto state that you won't be joining the 'selfie' trend yourself as its against all your photographic instincts. This I can accept as surely everyone is entitled to an opinion and as you are passionate about photography, I can imagine this trend maybe difficult to come to terms with.. However, coming from a creative background myself, I do find it suprising that anyone interested in Art in any manner could be so dismissing of other peoples expression. Even celebrities are human, and as irritating as 'trends' maybe to some of us, they happen to be the driving force and main provider of social inclusion for our younger generation. You continue with your short education on the self portraits taken on camera phones ' distorts the features and is an example of how new technology changes the way we do things'. It has apparently 'done away' with the correct way of taking a self portrait. May I suggest that you may have missed the point. Maybe a rant about modern photography should have not been directed at our younger generation. Too often young people are spoken about negatively, which in return delivers a negative attitude back.Young people today face the same amount of social pressures as young people 50 years ago, if in different ways. Understanding and support is what our younger generation need, instead we have articles like this that make them seem stupid. A 'selfie' to you Mr Browne may seem pointless, uneducated and an offence to an experienced yet narrow minded photographer, but to a young teenager it is a statement, a tool of expression, a show of confidence and a way to socialize and communicate with friends. It's a shame that you (being an artist) cannot recognize other artforms and simply be able to say something positive about our young people. A not-so interesting and rather infuriating read. Some decent photography discussion would be nice next time. Ps is your snap-shot a selfie? I think you may have the camera too close..... Jane (Cheadle)

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