The modern society is considered to be an experimental phase of personal technologies. Contemporary technologies keep up with people’s needs to express themselves and help them build their own image. For instance, nowadays, people are not just taking pictures: they also like to share them. This trend leads to the invention of more sophisticated technology of digital imaging. Digital photography which is gradually replacing analog photography increasingly gains popularity nowadays. Its development allows people to have more reliable and lighter cameras. Some people rely on their smartphones to take pictures since they have a great image quality and the access to share them on social media. Smartphone’s cameras have became a rival to digital ones, thus some manufacturers implement wireless technology which allows people to share their pictures directly from their cameras. This trend of digital imaging impacts the sociological aspect of human life. Photography becomes an ego-centered tool rather than artistic method, as people do not care about how good their picture is as long as it wins approval and gets likes on Instagram or other social media. Selfies, photos taken of oneself, are becoming trend culture, since a lot of people take them on a regular basis. This tendency affects not only common people, but also celebrities, politicians, etc. However, selfie has huge negative influence on the society, as it changes cultural paradigm and metal outlook of people.
In addition to storing and transferring information, as well as having aesthetic pleasure from viewing, photos carry out other important functions. Firstly, the picture can be a great gift. Eventually, it is no secret that the services of truly professional photographers are expensive. A beautiful and high-quality photo is desired by everyone. Therefore, portrait photography could be the most welcome gift for many people. Secondly, photography allows people to open up, find their own style and gain self-confidence. In general, it has a capability to change person’s life in a radical way. Portraying helps to see both strengths and weaknesses and look at oneself from the outside. A person could learn how to present themselves, move, gesticulate, and choose matching hirstyle or clothes. Moreover, a person could increase their self-esteem watching their flawless photos or taking compliments from friends, relatives, and colleagues. Photos may even help in the investigation of criminal cases. For example, pictures taken by random eyewitnesses or surveillance cameras at the scene of crime allow finding criminals and solving a case. However, despite all the advantages that the development of digital imaging provided, there are many hidden dangers in this kind of art. In this regard, one of the most widespread concerns is connected with ‘selfism’. Lodge argues that spending a great amount of time on the Internet and being subjected to selfies of other people can have a devastating effect on human’s psyche.
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Selfie (self-portrait) is a new trend in photography. Nowadays a lot of people are fond of taking pictures of themselves (often in a mirror) and posting them in different social media. It is believed that the term ‘selfie’ appeared in 2002 on the Australian Internet forum. However, it became widely used only in 2012. According to Shawndrea, “In 2013, the Oxford English Dictionary made ‘selfie’ the word of the year”. There are particular types of selfies:
- elevator look is a picture taken in the mirror of the elevator; one of the most popular manifestations of the self;
- dressing look is a picture taken in a mirror in the bathroom, the toilet;
- duck face is an expression that girls unconsciously give to their faces in order to look sexier. Its main nuance is inflated and protruding lips;
- relfie is a photo with the loved one.
To create selfie, it is sufficient to photograph oneself at arm’s length or in a mirror. However, selfie is not just pictures or mainstream of the season; it is a whole social phenomenon, the prestige of which is increasing with each passing day. The popularity of the new genre is ensured not only by the original image, but also by the active support of Hollywood stars. Twitter and Facebook celebrities share huge amount of selfies with their fans, taken on the background of the scenery for the new film, on weekends, parties and recreation. In recent years, the poopularity of self-portraits has become so great that some people got addictive to the selfies. Not only the youth, but even mature and elderly people take pictures of themselves and share photos on the Web. Therefore, there appeared a new concept of ‘selfism’, an endemic fashion on self-portaying.
Self- photographing has become a fashion trend. Selfies account for the vast majority of all posted pictures of the users in social networks. As a result of such passion, selfies contribute to the development of narcissism. Narcissistic personality disorder is related to the person’s preoccupation with their own individuality. People suffering from this syndrome obtain satisfaction from the presence of agiotage around them and admiration of their external and internal qualities.
As a result, the desire to look better on photo motivates people (especially girls) to visit cosmetic surgeon. A research conducted by the American Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery has showed that the demand for operation of appearance among the youth has increased dramatically over the past few years (Edwards). This tendency stems from the social networks. The popularity of pictures at close distance leads to the situation when girls begin to consider their faces more carefully and notice even minor flaws.
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As selfie helps to capture oneself in the best possible way, people with a history of dysmorphophobia are often obsessed with these photos. Dysmorphophobia is a mental illness in which a person is overly concerned by a minor defect or certain feature of the body. Roughly speaking, fundamental mental problems may be hidden under the innocent desire of pictures as mementos.
Taking into consideration mentioned advantages of integrated digital imaging, it cannot be said that photography is of serious hazard to modern society. However, new technologies that are closely linked to social media have negative influence on people, their culture, physical and mental health. Since selfies have become an integral part of modern life, it is impossible to deny them. Therefore, it is crucial to remember their disadvantages and try to eliminate their negative effect on people’s lives.
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