Say Cheese… The Selfie Love

By Chaitali Wadhwa

In 2013, the word selfie was added in the Oxford dictionary. The trend of selfies went viral, so much so, that some of the most famous celebrities including Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep, Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Lawrence, had their glam moment when Ellen DeGeneres decided to huddle up those smiling faces for some camera fun at the recent Oscar ceremony.

The (no longer) hidden fact that this event was pre-planned, and that it was a way to sponsor Samsung, isn’t really the topic of discussion in my article. I am not quite concerned that the stunt that seemed spontaneous was actually a rehearsed one. True, the Samsung executives taught Ellen to use a Galaxy Note 3 behind the curtains. The picture had over 2 million retweets, breaking several records. However, none of this forms the core of my article.

What I am focussing on is this craze of clicking pictures of oneself with the front camera of any, and every, mobile phone.

The most basic question is what is the right place (and time) to take a selfie? Ask the selfie lovers. For them, any time is the best time. It doesn’t matter to them whether the uncle in the metro is staring awkwardly or the neighbouring aunty is cribbing about how indecent the kids of our generation have become. Nor do they care if those little kids playing in park are laughing at those pouts one makes holding the camera slightly above the head. While the non-selfie lovers might not see it appropriate to click completely dressed up, on the way to dinner, eating at the restaurant and on the way back again, the ones holding the camera can’t do without pressing that button every 15 minutes.

True, a picture doesn’t define a person. But how appropriate is it, to take a thumb up selfie at a Holocaust Memorial? A guy grinning in front of a house fire and a jokingly wide-eyed selfie at the Auschwitz memorial, thoughtfully hash tagged “#respect” aren’t really the best ones. A new Tumblr, Selfies at Serious Places, documents some of the most egregious examples of over-zealous selfie-taking.

Victorians were intrigued by the way in which photography had the power to enable people to live on in some way after their death, deriving a frisson of excitement. But the photographs themselves could have unpredictable afterlives, being passed down from generation to generation, and still making tabloid headlines today. That has been taken to a whole new level in the digital age, where a poor choice of selfie can quickly give you the 15 megabytes of fame you didn’t really want.

So while it may seem like a tough task to let go of the camera, snapping and clicking everywhere may not really be the best idea. Let’s just try and get it in our minds that selfies while driving are dangerous and those at places of explosion (such as the Chernobyl nuclear power plant) where hundreds of people lost their lives are disrespectful.

When it comes down to it, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with taking selfies. They’re a way to process an experience, a way to remember. But inappropriate expressions, wrong timing or a poor choice of hash tag may just make it a haunting memory.

Chaitali Wadhwa: A pass out from Bluebells School International, Chaitali is currently a 1st year student at Amity Law School Delhi, IP University. She is passionate about writing and loves to compose poems. She likes to spend her free time reading novels and also enjoys watching television. She aspires to be a successful environmental lawyer and would like to bring justice to those whose voices go unheard. Have a look at her Feel free to contact her