Taking selfies has always seemed awkward to me. Even seeing others’ selfies makes
me slightly uncomfortable.
|Me, not smiling. No one told me to say cheese.|
I finally figured out what it is. In the old days, people did not often take self-portraits. It was too much work. You had to set up a tripod or balance your camera on a steady surface; then set the timer to count down before the shot; then run quickly to your spot in the frame and wait for the shutter to click. That was so involved that people rarely did it.
Photos normally were taken with someone behind the camera. The photographer coaches, arranges and frames the subjects. Then he calls out, “Say cheese!” Everyone smiles for the photographer. They smile for someone who is there.
Here’s what’s so different/creepy about selfies: it is a solo experience. You are not smiling for anyone else when you take the picture. You never instruct yourself to say cheese. It’s like you pretend that someone else is behind the camera, when really you are just smiling for yourself. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems weird.