A selfie? Straight to the Urban Dictionary:
A picture taken of yourself that is planned to be uploaded to Facebook, Myspace or any other sort of social networking website. You can usually see the person’s arm holding out the camera in which case you can clearly tell that this person does not have any friends to take pictures of them so they resort to Myspace to find internet friends and post pictures of themselves, taken by themselves. A selfie is usually accompanied by a kissy face or the individual looking in a direction that is not towards the camera.
Time magazine named “selfie” one of the top 10 buzzwords of 2012. It explains, more soberly:
People have been taking photos of themselves and sharing them with friends, family and Internet strangers for years. Yet it wasn’t until 2012 that a name for these self-portraits, typically made to post on a social networking website (or send in a text message), really hit the big time. Selfies are often snapped at odd angles with smartphones and include some part of the photographer’s arm …
A so-called “hipster selfie,” one that strays from mainstream practices, may not even feature the person’s face at all—perhaps because it’s eclipsed by the old-fashioned camera he or she used to take the portrait in a mirror.
One of the senior experts in the genre is pop singer Rihanna.
The advice from the prolific selfier (selfiest?), as shared with Complex magazine:
Get a good angle on what’s working for you that day. If it’s boobs, make sure you hit that. If it’s face, make sure it’s fierce.
Sage words. If only photographer Robert Cornelius had thought of that when he took his own photo in 1839, in what, according to BuzzFeed, is the earliest surviving selfie:
Very instagram, don’t you think?
And you know something has gone mainstream when it enters the sphere of politicians. Hillary Clinton and Meryl Streep were snapped taking a selfie late last year, but there is sadly no evidence that they shared the thing.
But again, no sign of the selfie itself – and they’re not of course politicians in any case.
All of which means that Judith Collins could be the first – the senior minister and future National leader (maybe) has reinforced New Zealand’s reputation as a political pioneer by tweeting – that’s right, tweeting – this selfie, with prime minister John Key, at the start of the month:
I’d quibble about the grammar, but I’m too busy gulping.
But probably the best selfie ever (via @BuzzFeedAndrew) is this, taken by Japanese astronaut Aki Hoshide from the International Space Station.
Even better than Rihanna, isn’t it?
From the NASA site where it first appeared in September last year:
Space station astronaut Aki Hoshide (Japan) recorded this striking image while helping to augment the capabilities of the Earth-orbiting International Space Station (ISS). Visible in this outworldly assemblage is the Sun, the Earth, two portions of a robotic arm, an astronaut’s spacesuit, the deep darkness of space, and the unusual camera taking the picture. This image joins other historic — and possibly artistic — self-portraits taken previously in space.