This Christmas my dad’s girlfriend won the award for the best present award hands down. The present provided conversation starters, jokes and countless bonding moments that lasted well into the New Year.
My brother – the lucky present recipient – took the present to Woodford Folk Festival, where he used it to shoot a video for the girl he was keen on back home. The present seriously confused my Nan, who couldn’t understand how the present didn’t need batteries or something else to work. The present also made my dad laugh, a lot. It was infectious – he had the whole table at Christmas lunch in hysterics.
And finally, the present gave me – the family photographer – my first video of Christmas lunch.
Want to know what the present was?
A selfie stick.
Selfies have revolutionised family photography. My Christmas holiday album below is testament to this.
There are even blogs now about how to take the best family selfies. Blogger It Started in LA writes:
Although we don’t think about it, selfies have changed the way we interact with others, our sense of humour and how we behave in public places (Saltz 2014). We now have the ability to take a new kind of family portrait, during which everyone is usually having a giggle at how silly they all look on the phone screen. Compare the family selfie to your average I’ve-been-smiling-for-five-minutes-straight-and-my-mouth-hurts photo and you’ve probably got yourself a half decent family snap.
My Dad and I recently went through a trunk of old photos of the earlier generations of our family who lived at Kiandra during the gold rush. In the future it’s reasonable to predict that our great grandchildren will piece together their family history by looking through a hard drive of selfies.
Selfies have also become an art form. Jerry Saltz tells us that they are ‘a new visual genre—a type of self-portraiture formally distinct from all others in history’ (2014). And the selfies that we take with a selfie stick, like the selfies we take in mirrors, are a distinct sub-genre of this new visual genre.
The beauty of selfie sticks is that they allow large families to take a photo with every family member in it – without having to ask an outsider to take the photo.
If selfies have become an art form then maybe selfie sticks are the new paintbrush. Imagine what Picasso could have done if he had a selfie stick.
Saltz, J 2014, ‘Art at Arm’s Length: A History of the Selfie,’ Vulture, 27 January, viewed 12 May, http://www.vulture.com/2014/01/history-of-the-selfie.html