The Selfie Obsession – What’s Really Behind It

Many of us look at the number of selfies people post online and think “narcissist”. But is there more to it than that? Our online personas are the faces we wish to present to the world. It’s both who we are and who we strive to be wrapped into one. 

With the help of newer technologies, the view we present may or may not be the whole truth. Filters and Photoshop can do a great deal to alter the final image.

The question becomes, why are we doing this and why can’t we just be happy with ourselves as is?

The answer is perception.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We have all heard that time old phrase but how true is it really?

Have you ever wondered what our brains see and if what one brain sees is the same as the next? My best guess is that indeed we do see things just a bit differently from each other. 

In the past, we have relied on others to take photos of us. Cameras just weren’t built for aiming towards yourself. They were too big and too bulky. Because of this we were always only presented through the perspective of the photographer.

This varied perspective is part of why we may love one photographer’s work and not so much another. Composition, lighting, angle, and personal view all come together to make the finished image. 

With the invention of smaller handheld phone cameras – came the selfie. I believe why this has become such an enormous trend is not just convenience but the ability to be the photographer. To capture what you see as your true best self. Selfies are the view you want the world to have of you. So when you are happy with the result you are proud to show it off.

***There is some kind of odd phenomenon that happens in photography. Many people will look at an image and say “That’s me?” as if they don’t recognize themselves. Somehow they get so hooked and focused on flaws that they don’t see their beauty until presented third person.
The same happens in voice recording. Your own voice will not sound like you (at least not to you).

Add to that the magic of filters and you can be thinner, have better skin, change your eye color, and do wondrous things. I have done magazine and editorial photo editing. It isn’t a pretty thing to see some of the before and after images. We smooth every line, wrinkle, freckle, birthmark, heck even the model’s armpits are touched up beyond recognition half the time. Necks are lengthened, shortened, and the same with legs and waists. These models are beautiful to start with, yet somehow as an advertiser in society, we wash away on purpose what makes them – them.

It’s no wonder the public has followed suit. 

I don’t believe selfies are so much about vanity as they are the ability to try and control how the world sees you, as well as how you perceive yourself so that it matches up with how you view yourself in your mind’s eye.

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