What kind of self-portraits would art’s great masters have offered had they had access to smartphones? “To hell with sketchings, spatial perspective, and density of brushstroke,” I imagine Van Gogh venting in an exhale of pipe smoke. “I’m just going to snap a selfie.”
In the 17th century, only a handful of people on the planet had the skills, materials, and tools needed to create public self-portraits. Now sophisticated smartphones help us indulge that burning urge to tell the world about ourselves, showing them what we find noteworthy about our faces, enviable about our vacations, and interesting about our boredom.
The cult of selfie-taking has mushroomed since the term first entered public usage in 2002. Improvements to front-facing cameras on smartphones in the mid-2000s permitted quicker, better selfies, and their popularity grew so much that “selfie” was deemed the Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year in 2013. On average, 93 million selfies are taken across the globe each day, and millennials spend about an hour per week dedicating themselves to Instagramming them. read more