The Story of the Selfie
From the photographer who took the shot: The story behind “that selfie”.
Two things are striking:
All around me in the stadium, South Africans were dancing, singing and laughing to honour their departed leader. It was more like a carnival atmosphere, not at all morbid. The ceremony had already gone on for two hours and would last another two. The atmosphere was totally relaxed – I didn’t see anything shocking in my viewfinder, president of the US or not.
I later read on social media that Michelle Obama seemed to be rather peeved on seeing the Danish prime minister take the picture. But photos can lie. In reality, just a few seconds earlier the first lady was herself joking with those around her, Cameron and Schmidt included. Her stern look was captured by chance.
The first paragraph provides context, which one can take as one wills.
The second I find interesting as an avid photographer, I know full well how a given shot, which can capture less than a second of time, can provide a distorted view of reality.
Indeed, to me one of the most interesting aspects of this story is the story of photographs. The story of why Cameron, Obama, and Schmidt would want a photograph to commemorate a moment (a fairly common impulse) and the meta way that a a photo of them taking that photo created a broader story.
(And I would say, as one who loves to take photos, the shot of the selfie is a great shot, regardless of anything else. And, indeed, this whole story show the power of a photograph).
I thought it to be a humanizing moment. We tend to view our leaders as purely political robots, so candid moments like this make you realize they are sometimes still quite excited about their station in life.
And the CONTEXT for the subsequent seating adjustment ??? A draft perhaps ???
By the way, I like your collection Steven, very nice.
Our technology has created a nation of people who seemingly are in, and are documenting, every moment. I personally like the vibe of that picture – it’s what I see people doing everyday, on the ferry, at restaurants, on the sidewalks. at parks, on the square … everywhere.
@al-Ameda: Thanks–kind of you to say.
I didn’t find it particularly notable one way or another, though the media’s multi-day obsession w/ it definitely was. Of course, not to be outdone, Murdoch’s NY Post had to be the most over the top in their bottom-feeding:
@Jeremy R: I came across that column earlier this afternoon. One of the more over-the-top things I have read in a while.
@Steven L. Taylor:
It had some small value, in that it distilled down to its noxious core the “story” that the more respectable elements of the media had been wallowing in for days. Hopefully it was clarifying moment to some of them.
I agree, when I’m out with my camera at a big event, some of my favorite shots are often scenes of other photographers taking pictures.