We like to think that the selfie is an invention of the 21st century, but it’s not.Founders of the newly-opened selfie Museum in Los Angeles set out to prove that the people’s desire to have pictures of themselves goes back hundreds of years.Roman Emperor, the Mona Lisa, self portraits by Durer and Rembrandt,the black and white photos that adorn our grandparents bedside tables all point to the long historic tradition of the selfie.
“I think the realization that selfies are not new.People like to say they’re new, Paris Hilton likes to claim she invented them, and while she may have made them more famous.They’re definitely not new.People have been obsessed with self imagery and taking their pictures or drawing themselves, since people begin drawing on cave walls.People have been drawing human figures, all those things have changed and that entire time is the technique and the technology.”
Today you don’t have to waste hours sitting for a portrait, the camera on your smartphone will get you a good quality picture in a split second.Didn’t like it? Simply try again.
“I, to me I take see pictures as capturing memories, and selfies are very convenient,because you can see how the picture is gonna look, before it, before it’s ah, while it’s being taken.”“And it’s also very fun to see you take 70 pictures of yourself to pick that perfect one, because I know we all do it.I definitely do it and when I find that perfect one it always makes me really happy.”
According to Instagram statistics, one of the most popular selfie spots is the gym.There are more than two million pictures that have a hash-tag gym selfie.Equally popular is taking a selfie in a car or in a bathroom, which has been used as a selfie background more than 1.3 million times.This surprised the exhibition curators so much that they decided to have a special installation in the museum, a bathroom with no mirrors.They hope that makes visitors think about how far the selfie obsession can take a person.
But apart from that museum founders have gone out of their way to provide all sorts of breathtaking selfie backgrounds.Among them the top floor of the tallest building in the world Dubai’s Burj Khalifa and the iron throne from Game of Thrones.It doesn’t really matter that neither of these is real, what matters is that such a selfie will no doubt get its owner likes galore.
Genia Dulot for VOA News Los Angeles