SELFIEka is the country where people live among terabytes of images and one of their hands ends with a mobile phone having a front and back camera. In this country photographers are not required as everyone takes a photo of himself/herself with slightly pouting lips and faintly turned aside or staring at a mirror brimming with heroic machismo. And not just take photos but fill in photo diaries every day, every hour or even every minute in the virtual space. In this world people like each other by pressing a button, adjust their relationship status and advise you to keep an eye on this space to be aware of your…
Does it sound strange to you? Yes! But does it sound familiar… ?
When Vilem Flusser defines the photo camera as a “prosthesis”, an extension of the human eye in “Philosophy of Photography”, he had hardly assumed the level to which the technologic means of communication will also become an attachment extending the human hand, long enough to catch the body and the face it belongs to in the wide angle lens of the built in their mobile phone camera. “… the photographer is inside the device and is intertwined with it. This is a function of a new kind where man is neither the constant nor the variable but man and camera amalgamate into one. That is why it would be reasonable here to call the photographer “a functionary”. (Vilem Flusser)
In 2002 an inebriated Australian “functionary” described his experiences by publishing a self-photo of himself with the excuse: “I’m sorry about the focus but this is a selfie”. In the years to follow, this new coined word has gained incredible popularity and marked an unheard of peak in 2013. As a result, it was declared word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries. The entry of “selfie” explains “A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website”
And here comes the question – why?
Why does virtual space abound of self- images of millions of people in extraordinary postures and in strange places?
The advancement of technologies allows us to make attempt after attempt to reach the needed outcome with the minimum of efforts which leads to a boom in the publication of selfies. On the other hand, the character of the occasional momentary image adds plausibility to the story and persuasively introduces the personality of the author.
Philosophers often correlate personal identity with memory. It is suggested that we continue to keep the same personality as long as our memories of the past exist. But are our memories enduring and impartial when matched with our experience concentrated in a crystal ball? Can our memories be so selected as to meet the desired by us image of ourselves?
Maybe the wish to keep the memory of each our “now” underlies this phenomenal “selfie” experiment. And the fear, the fear to fall into oblivion, and not even tomorrow but today…