Can someone please explain to me why you need to take 10+ snaps of the exact same photo of you smiling with a [insert iconic attraction/landmark/food/animal/etc. here], where your face taking up 80% of the picture anyways? You know what you look like, your family and friends know what you look like. Can you really make that smile 10 different ways and appreciate whatever that thing in the background was you were trying to get in the photo with you? This post asks: Why do people take so many selfies while traveling?
What is the purpose of a selfie? Is it to prove that the image is really yours and not just one you got from the internet? I’ve seen too many people who aren’t really aware of their surroundings and who spend 10-30 minutes attempting to take the most epic selfie picture possible. Selfies are ok for a quick snap, one that says I did it/ made it/saw it/stood here; but I don’t get why people have this self-inflicted obsession that the first, second, third, tenth photo isn’t good enough because they don’t look perfect in the shot. Wouldn’t you rather spend the extra time to take some photos of the area/thing itself and maybe explore a bit rather than standing in one spot with a phone up in the air aimed at your face?
Would you really stand in line for 30+ minutes just so you can get a selfie with that one popular statue/attraction head-on when you can get it from a distance/different angle so easily and with no line? When I was at Yehliu Geopark in Taiwan, there was a huge line up to get a picture with the Queen’s Head formation – every person and their mother wanted a picture with the Queen’s Head at the angle where it appears to look like a face. I’ve never seen so many selfie sticks in my life! There was even security there to manage the selfie line. But is it really worth it? You could be exploring other areas of the park and seeing so much more of the attraction site rather than standing in line for that perfect shot (that someone will likely photobomb anyways). I found a less crowded area, snapped a quick pic (maybe two) and mozied on my way.
And I’m not nagging on selfies that are properly set up, timed images where you are in the picture and the essence of the image is not distorted by your giant face. For example, I really like this style of selfie where you can still appreciate what’s in the picture – the landscape, mood/feeling of the image. I even recognize (while I’m not a fan myself) that the selfie stick has value for photos that you just can’t get trying to aim the camera from arm’s length, and you can use it to your advantage to get uniquely angled shots. But, WHY do people spend so much time obsessing over their selfie photo instead of enjoying the present moment or scenery?
I watched a girl at the train station take 10+ pictures of herself with the train station name in the background. This took several minutes while she stood there (posing her entire body I might add, even though her face was the only thing being captured), repeating that same selfie smile instead of looking out for the train and experiencing the excitement of watching it arrive. Another tourist I saw had brought a tripod for her selfie pics and had set herself up with a great view of Memorial Hall in the background, then pulled out stuffed animals and stuck her face up close to the camera– literally three toys that consumed her selfie picture. And I have nothing against stuffies (I bring Pookie with me on trips and get a pic with him every so often), but you can only capture so much in a selfie photo. Imagine standing in the middle of a busy tourist spot, taking snap after snap of your face, with a few toys around it and a small tidbit of Memorial Hall somewhere in the background. Is it just me? I don’t get it...
I value the memory itself and the place/thing. It doesn’t matter that I myself am not perfect in the picture, or even that I’m not in the picture at all. To me, it’s about where you were/what you saw/who you were with at that exact moment in time. The people I care about will trust that I actually went there/saw that thing. And I’m not saying don’t take selfies – absolutely take selfies! Just don’t spend your entire life (yes, I’m exaggerating) taking profile pics, not living in the moment and actually seeing that place/thing for what it really is rather than a Facebook photo. Stop worrying about that perfect shot and your personal image. Who cares if I’m not in every shot? I sure don’t! I actually think it’s much more authentic that way!
I'm a 20-something woman working my way through life in Canada, traveling when I can afford it and seeking out my passions one day at a time.