by Eduard Schaepman, on 21 Jun 2018
People love it, or hate it, but on #NationalSelfieDay we're all doing it: making a 'selfie'. The first selfie was made by Robert Cornelius, an American chemist and hobby photographer, already back in 1839. He had to take a bit more effort to make such a picture (he had to remove the lens hood from his camera, run very fast to the other side and then sit still waiting for the picture to be taken), he couldn't apply a pair of instant cat ears, and he had to work with that one picture only, but the phenomenon is actually as old as the photographic technology itself. The hype originated in 2013, while the word 'selfie' was used for the first time in 2002.
We now make such a selfie a lot easier, we can apply a filter and immediately share it with the rest of the world via social media. I’m sure Robert Cornelius never saw that coming… meanwhile there are selfiesticks, selfiedrones, and so on... all made possible by our smartphones. And what great things those phones have brought us! We listen to music on our phone, we keep our social network informed, we read the news, and every now and then we make a call. And of course, we make all those countless selfies with it, with which we make photo reports of our live (take a look at your film role).
We record our lives in our smartphones, but the same smartphones freeze our lives: we are chained by technology. On Car-Free Tuesday it became clear to me once again: everyone is glued with their eyes to their mobile screen. Was Apple aware of the hype they created with the launch of the first iPhone, back in 2007? There are now programs available (indeed, on your mobile...) to get rid of your smartphone addiction. About 47% of the smartphone users in America indicated that they actually wanted to spend less time on their mobile (Statistics 2018, America's Smartphone Addiction). That is almost half of the users (and then there will also be a large part that is not yet ready to admit that they are reasonably addicted to that little box)
Don't misunderstand me: I think the smartphone is the invention of the century. Transferring money, for example, have never been easier, and it's true that you make a photographic report of important events very quickly, which I really like for 'later'. But I think it’s a shame that we prefer to look at our phones rather than have a good conversation. With that warm weather the other day, I enjoyed a good glass of wine with Veronique on the beach in Knokke. Around me all young people, not busy chatting, but busy typing, swyping and scrolling. The smartphone has created a new culture: we all have and want to be accessible at all times and everywhere.
It's up to each individual to choose whether or not to participate, but until we all get ‘to our senses’, we just take the best from two sides. So, on #NationalSelfieDay we indeed take those selfies with cat ears, but we combine that with human contact! See the result of our Tribes family, who had the greatest fun with each other by shooting a nice self-portrait! Are you joining us?