An arm headed, smartphone directed at the face, a flattering beam of a flash, an auto-portrait to be shared in a touch: in a nutshell a selfie. A craze that has won over holidaymakers, footballers, actors and stars (included Her Majesty and the Pope). Whether on a beach, a luxurious boat, in the jungle or in front of a monument, the aim is to shoot a face’s close-up. Travelling selfies are the most popular of all and the internet swarms with tips and gadgets to help your self-expressions.
Image courtesy of Pasko Tomic
How everything started:
The first rough form of auto-shot appeared on “My Space” in 2006 with the unappealing name of “Myspace pic”. However, the term “selfie” appeared for the first time ever in 2004 on the photo-sharing website Flickr. This made-up word was used to tag the endless stream of teenagers’ self-portraits.
The set up of Facebook, followed all its social-networks relatives, and the diffusion of mobile phones with a front-faced camera did all the rest. Actually, it did more than expected. In 2012 auto-portraits had grown 17,000%. In the meantime, “selfie” was officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary and became the word of the year 2013.
Makati City in the Philippinesis is the world’s selfaholic capital, followed by Manhattan and Miami. In Europe, only Manchester and Milan could gain a place in the top 10 of countries with most selfies.
Don’t try this at home or on holidays
What would you do for a selfie?
British travel company owner, Lee Thompson, went well beyond the so-called extra mile. To be more precise he went up 2,300 ft: the exact height of Christ the Redeemer statue. Lee navigated dangerous narrow steps climbing up to the top of the iconic Rio de Janeiro’s monument to take a thrilling shot with his smart-phone.
Image courtesy of Lee Thompson Image courtesy of Kirril Oreshkin
Gut-wrenching, the photo-feast carried out by Russian photographer Kirill Oreshkin. He climbed to the top of some of the world’s tallest buildings to give an unforgettable background to his face-shot.
Less extreme, but equally enchanting was Alex Guacon’s selfie. He posed in front of a camera while 3 years and a journey of 126,000 miles through 36 different countries span behind him condensed in a 3 minutes length video.
Best places to get a selfie
The most popular place to shoot a selfie is just on the tip of a tongue, the Troll’s Tongue (Trolltunga). Nothing to do with the Lord of the Rings or any fantasy movies, it is a piece of rock hanging horizontally above Norwegian Lake Ringedalsvatnet.
Image courtesy of Håvard
The scenario is thrilling, but not advisable for people who suffer from dizziness. You could prefer a choice of less reckless backgrounds, like the colourful rocks of the Antelope Canyon (Arizona), the golden human-made landscape of Chittorgarh Fort (India) or the mystic 5th century Inca site of Machu Picchu (Peru). The coloured light of the paper lamps reflected in the water makes Hoi An (Vietnam) one of the most enchanting city backgrounds. Animal lovers instead, could appreciate the South African Boulder’s Beach, one of the few spots in the world where penguins photo-bomb your selfie.
Image courtesy of James Chang
Travelling Selfie is the new-classic
Travel selfies are the top selfie scenarios. So be ready for another summer of naked feet portrayed lying on a beach, hammock or immersed in clear sea water. Social media marked the definitive end of “duck-face” and gym work out selfies. Whoever wants to show off their muscles has to be really creative. There are few basic rules to follow to snap a master-travel selfie:
Image courtesy of Susanne Nilsson
1) Stretch your arm out as much as possible so to include the location you are showing.
2) Let others join in: nature, friends, monuments or animals can be perfect frames for your auto-snap.
3) Do not overuse filter as changing the natural light and colours of a photo can distort the atmosphere your surroundings.
Back in time sticks were essentials for gentlemen and aristocrats’ attire; today we have the gadgets for our smart phones. This new tool was launched on the market to overcome the limited-length of our arms. In the future - a group selfie or capturing the details of a landscape behind a face will be easier.
Image courtesy of John Ragai
However, not everybody loves selfies. To mock the holiday-selfie, Italian designer Gianluca Gimini has created “Instagamb”, in English Instaleg. It is a small plastic object reproducing two naked legs that can be attached with a suction cup to phones’ camera.
Image courtesy of Gianluca Gimini
If your holidays are over or you have to wait to get them, you still have the chance to flood your Facebook page with a shot of your naked feet hanging in a more familiar landscape.
By Cristina Nanni
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