Meaning in the age of selfie sticks

There is nothing all that wrong with selfies, as such. They are just a documentary act, at heart – a record of where you have been, what you have seen, the things you have eaten and drunk, the friends and lovers you have had, the family you wish you saw more often. People have been taking pictures of these things since photography was invented. They just do so with more frequency today.

But there’s another difference, too. In an era when the ability to capture a still life or one in motion is in your pocket at all times, people have a tendency to do so with a different approach. They put themselves in the foreground of existence, which inevitably means putting life behind them. It requires you to look away from the thing you wish to capture in order to put your face in the shot, and to do so over and over and over again. No stranger would willingly stand there snapping away at you, so you need a stick to ease the challenge – it eliminates the human interaction and increases the options and angles you can use.

In front of the tree, a young couple – the man in high end flannel, the girl with oversized glasses – have spent the past ten minutes with their backs to the lights, trying the selfie stick at different angles, their faces forming into oddly posed smiles every few seconds. They concentrate on constructing the imagery of life around them, seeking the perfect balance of themselves and the locale.