PBS Idea Channel defends the selfie (VIDEO)


posted Friday, February 7, 2014 at 1:22 PM EST


The selfie is one of the most maligned forms of photography currently around, perhaps only second to the conspicuous consumption of the Rich Kids of Instagram. But what if we're looking at the selfie all wrong, and that comparing them to artistic photography completely misses the point? At least that's what's being argued by Mike Rugnetta of the PBS Idea Channel.

He argues that a selfie is more comparable to a tweet or Facebook status update. It's a way of capturing where we are, how we're feeling, and what's going on in our lives, in a single instant. Think of it as a riff on the cliché that a picture is worth a thousand words. A selfie can communicate a volume about you in a single photo, and requires just seconds to take. And much the same way that a status update shouldn't be compared to a novel or work of poetry, comparing a selfie to artistic photography misses the point.

Part of the confusion does come from the intersection of the selfie and more traditional photographic esthetics. Someone's Instagram feed could be equally perfectly composed and immaculately timed artistic shots as well as interesting things they've eaten. And that doesn't make either of those less worthy.

It's a very interesting video, and one well worth watching to spark a discussion about how we view the simple act of taking a picture of oneself from a phone—and why there's so much vitriol against it.

(via LaughingSquid)