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ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Say Cheese to Myselfie!

(On the Origin and Destigmatization of Selfies)
by aLfie vera mella

The word selfie has been officially included in the dictionary (Oxford English Dictionary, August 2013) to mean "a type of self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a hand-held digital camera or camera phone or using a webcam or an automatic camera." It could be also a picture showing several persons whom include the person who took the picture.

Therefore, if a picture of a person is taken by another person not included in the frame, then it is not a selfie. A picture is considered a selfie only if the person who took it was included in the picture itself.

One of the First Known Selfies
Athough selfies have gained commercial popularity only in the current decade, the idea or concept may be traced back to the early 1900s when Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia took one of the first teenage self-portraits using a mirror and a Kodak Brownie camera to send to a friend in 1914. Besides, centuries prior to that, there were already artists who had painted portraits of themselves, often titling these simply as "Self-Portrait."

In 1914, Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia took one of the first teenage self-portraits using a mirror and a Kodak Brownie camera to send to a friend.

A self-portrait, on the other hand, is a representation of an artist drawn, painted, sculpted, or photographed by the artist herself. Self-portraits have been made by many artists since the earliest times; however, only until the Early Renaissance in the mid-15th century when artists can be frequently identified depicting themselves as either the main subject or important characters in their work. 

Many regard "Portrait of a Man in a Turban" by the Flemish painter Jan van Eyck of 1433 as the earliest known panel self-portrait. 

Destigmatization of Selfies
Is there something laughable or stupid about posting selfies on the Internet, particularly on social networking sites like Facebook? It depends.

To me, there's nothing wrong in posting selfies per se. Selfies themselves should be fine. It is a neutral thing. What's wrong anyway with posting a harmless picture of oneself so that friends and other acquaintances may see it? It's not even with the number of selfies posted; instead, it largely depends on the nature of the selfies themselves--on what are shown on the selfies.
This is a selfie taken by my stepdaughter Marina that included her sister, Jannica; her mom, Charina; and me, her stepfather.

What would make a posted selfie ridiculous and stupid is the nature of the selfie itself. If the selfie depicts something that may put the author in trouble or, at the least, embarrassment; then she might as well not post it; she should rather keep it in the privacy of her personal files. For example, selfies that express troubling or embarrassing elements such as nudity or any illegal or criminal activity are what I would discourage anyone from sharing publicly. Otherwise, posting even a hundred wholesome selfies should be fine and should not be frowned upon.

The Last Leaf
Therefore, everything boils down to a person's being tactful and responsible when sharing a selfie of herself. Don't feel embarrassed if you want to post on a website or any social-networking site a selfie as long as it does not put you in trouble or a bad light or embarrassing or incriminating situation. 


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