A selfie is a genre of self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a hand-held digital camera or camera phone. Selfies are often associated with social networking and photo sharing services such as MySpace, Facebook, and Instagram, where they are commonly posted. They are often casual, are typically taken either with a camera held at arm’s length or in a mirror, and may include only the photographer or other people as well.
The term “selfie” was popularized by photographer Jim Krause in 2005.
Initially popular with young people, selfies have become popular among adults as well. In December 2012, Time magazine noted that selfie was among its the “top 10 buzzwords” of 2012; although selfies had existed for years, it was in 2012 that the term “really hit the big time”. According to a 2013 survey, two-thirds of Australian women age 18-35 take selfies—the most common purpose for which is posting on Facebook. By 2013, the word “selfie” had become commonplace enough to be monitored for inclusion in the online version of the Oxford English Dictionary.
The appeal of selfies comes from how easy they are to create and share, and the control they give self-photographers over how they present themselves. Many selfies are intended to present a flattering image of the person, especially to friends whom the photographer expects to be supportive.
Posting intentionally unattractive selfies has become common in the early 2010s—in part for their humor value, but in some cases also to explore issues of body image or as a reaction against the perceived narcissism or over-sexualization of typical selfies.
In 2013 artist Patrick Specchio and the Museum of Modern Art presented an exhibit called Art in Translation: Selfie, The 20/20 Experience, in which viewers use a provided digital camera to take photographs of themselves in a large mirror.
- A history of the selfie (bbc.co.uk)