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» » » » » » » » » » » #Selfie and the Pinoy "Picture-Picture" Mentality


JR Lopez Gonzales 7:27 AM 0

Images are part of human learning. A lot of the things we know come from our sense of sight.
Whether it’s an instructional book, a textbook, or a blog, words arranged on paper look a lot more polished when they mix with pictures. Black-and-white pages are painfully shy and needs the company of vivid images.

You're right, Mr. Corleone.
I learned about photos at an early age because I grew up to our small photo studio business in South Cotabato. Back in the day, professional cameras or instamatic ones, have to be loaded with a film. And those don’t come for free. But now, anyone can take pictures from their phones at will. All you need is your set of digits to become a photographer these days.

When you look at a group photo, who would you first look for? 
Yup, yourself. 


You would then think of how you look, how you smiled, or what you wore on that picture. Certainly, taking pictures of ourselves is a telltale sign of our proclivity towards placing self-importance and narcissism. Over the years, we developed this new sense of “over-documentation” of our day-to-day activities, and day-to-day faces – through self portraits known as selfies.

We Filipinos became too acquainted and "shutter-happy". One quick look at your Facebook newsfeed and you’ll see what I mean.  As much as you wanted to only see those sensible images on the newsfeed, these “photos of self-love” are prevalent because of the ever-decreasing private space. These are the dangers of oversharing in the cyberspace.

It has been said that vanity is “the Devil's favorite sin”.  And with this, I ask:

Just how many tidbits from a vacation does a traveler need?
Who granted us the obligation of letting the world know our “outfit of the day”?
How many snapshots does a person need in a month? Or in a day?
And what causes a girl to smile with pouty lips for a series of self-portraits?

Why does this generation love self-portraits?
Well, first of all, this is due to the skyrocketing advances in technology. Now everyone can have a “Kodak moment” anytime, anywhere. Most phones have built-in cameras these days and one can have seemingly endless shoots. It’s probably just someone’s way of writing their own lifestory. And this brings us to the second point: for posterity.

Well, humans have this desire to leave legacies and memoirs. Those people who take selfies probably think for the next generation. It is for the younger generation to see what they were up to and what kept them occupied. 

But this fascination towards photo journals may have become a bit too much.  When Filipinos watch a live concert, as what a Canadian friend of mine noticed, we take pictures and videos of the performers, most of the time. We frequently do that, instead of enjoying the concert as it is. When Pinoys visit a tourist spot, it’s like forever till we finish snapping pictures of ourselves with the view at the background.

Pinoys take portraiture a notch higher. Because of the proliferation of the photo uploads for most social networking sites, it paved the way for new table manners: instead of praying before meals, people now take photos before eating. Other selfies are taken by our well-documented friends as they drank their coffee at Starbucks, posing sideways for our “better photo angle”.

Some people would even send private messages begging others to ‘like’ their newly-uploaded profile pics. And that's beside the fact that they are the first ones to like their own photo.

On a another note, imagine the dismay of a person who just realized that the person they chatted with on the net, looks way different up close and personal during meetups. No thanks to Adobe PhotoShop, everyone may now write "model" as an occupation in their "About Page". Times are really a-changing.

But I guess the worst kind of these selfies is of those 'epal' politicians who gladly greet us on their sturdy tarpaulins. This, of all, causes a personal complaint from me, and not just an annoyance. In line with the misuse of taxpayer monies, these are the kinds of selfies which get on our nerves.

This may be dark, but it sure makes us want to do a literal “point-and-shoot". 




NOTE:
[1] Auntie Grace is my mother. She is a photographer in South Cotabato up to this day.

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