The Upside of Selfies

In 2014, InfoTrends predicted that that people will upload 1 trillion photos in 2015. That’s one thousand billion photos with 80% uploaded to Facebook and the other 20% to the rest of what used to be called the Information Superhighway. That’s Flickr, Instagram, Google+, websites…

The vast majority of these photos are selfies, are they the bane of the modern age.

The problem with selfies is that they are part of the human nature. Selfies are not a modern phenomena. Selfies have been going on for at least a thousand of years. I wouldn’t be surprised if selfies were a few thousand years old. But to be a selfie, the person has to identified as the one taking the picture.

The first known/identified selfie was in around 950 AD when the Archbishop of Canterbury painted himself in some religious scenes. Bellini (the one that designed much of what we call today the Vatican) and Da Vinci did their selfies in the 15th and the 16th century.

Rembrandt was a really big one. He did 22 selfies. But the king of the selfie was Van Gogh with over a hundred self-portraits. Picasso did at least 50… As you can see, selfies are not a modern phenomena.

Smartphones with their lens at around 4mm have a depth of field of ‘almost unlimited’, so they can take a photo at 4 feet length with the person and even some of the background is in focus. The selfie-stick is a way of transforming the smartphone into a wide-angle lens to take in even more of the background.

Think about the benefits of having a trillion selfies uploaded to the Internet.

  • Not only people are used to photos, they are expecting photos.
  • People are impressed by any “almost good” photo.
  • There are so many bad photos that it allows professional/amateur photographers to rise above the crowd.

The selfies and the smartphones have killed the point and shoot cameras but it have given rise to the small high-end cameras. Sony is becoming profitable with their high-end mirrorless full frame cameras. Canon is profitable. Fujifilm is the most profitable camera manufacturer (excluding Apple and Samsung) based on ROI (return on investment) with an ROI of 11.½%. For every 10 dollars that Fujifilm invests in its own company, it makes a profit of $1.11½. Even Olympus is starting to make a profit.

I know two people (non-professional photographers) who have spend $50,000+ (Canadian) on a medium format camera and a couple of lenses. I also also know quite a few people who have spent $10,000+ to buy Canon 5D Mark3 cameras with 3 lenses or a Sony A7r with a couple of Zeiss lenses…

A selfie doesn’t replace a good headshot and most people knows that.

The selfies are here to stay. Why fight them? Enjoy the opportunities created by them.