We just haven’t got enough photographs of ourselves, have we?
You may have albums full of yourself with the family, the dogs, the cats, birthday dinners, Christmas around the Trivial Pursuit board (just kidding ok, no-one, ever took that picture) on the beach, in the pool. These were probably taken by other people.
But what about those times when you’re on your own because your friends have gone to the pub or perhaps you actually have no friends?
I mean, who needs to record tedious views of picturesque landscapes or funky architecture when you can make yourself the main feature in photo after photo after photo?
Sound familiar? Nope it doesn’t to me either.
If anyone had ever said to me “Hey I’ve got this great idea! It’s a stick! You attach your camera or your phone to it and take a picture of yourself!” I would have told them where to stick their stick.
This is the reason why I’m not a millionaire or a shrewd person who can recognise a trend and capitalise on it. I will never invent something which will sell all over the world. I am way out of touch with the masses.
If the sample of Chinese tourists at Repulse Bay, Hong Kong was anything to go by, hundreds and thousands of people are using ‘selfie sticks.’ As a nation, it seems they have embraced the selfie stick more than any other.
Sitting on the gently curving beach under a tree after a swim on a warm afternoon, there was nothing to do but observe the constant stream of visitors to the beach – all of them on coach tours of Hong Kong from mainland China.
Coach after coach stopped at the roadside with monotonous regularity disgorging scores of people. They milled around a bit by the side of the buses, extracting hats, umbrellas (to fend off the sun, not the rain) and cameras and extending and attaching their selfie sticks before venturing on to the beach.
There was no wasting precious time with random wanderings – they walked directly across the beach towards the water’s edge. On the way, they stopped at several key photographic opportunity points.
One of these was the tree under which I was sitting. One Chinese girl made it clear by facial expressions and hand movements that she’d like me to move so that her boyfriend could get a photo of her with my tree.
I moved and watched as she threw herself lasciviously around the tree rather as I might have done with given free rein with Hugh Jackman. She kicked one leg out and smiled coquettishly. Her boyfriend wasn’t very quick with the camera but she was in the zone, trying another pose leaning teasingly against the tree and pouting. An old Chinese guy stumbled across the sand behind her so that one had to be reshot.
And then, boyfriend produced a selfie stick and suddenly they were both under my tree, using my shade posing, arms around each other and making happy V signs. Don’t ask me why the Chinese love V signs but it’s pretty obvious no-one ever told them about Agincourt.
I got fed up with waiting, so moved my towel and beachbag bag into shot to indicate the end of the photoshoot.
Meanwhile the phalanx of beachlovers were endlessly strolling down to the sea, looking out at the sea and container ships plying the sea on the horizon, and then turning around and walking back to the coaches. I suppose, on their whistle-stop tours, they were only allowed 15 minutes free time before continuing to the next viewpoint or resort.
Everyone took photographs – and most had selfie sticks. I concede that the selfie sticks were handy for taking pictures of groups with everyone in, looking desperately happy and chummy for the camera.
Selfie sticks were essential for the single people. One guy in a suit with the jacket open checked his shirt was done up, smoothed his hair into place and stuck a knee out at a jaunty “this is me enjoying the beach” angle before taking four pictures of himself from different angles against the hazy blue sea background.
Some threw themselves into fun poses and arranged wide toothpaste advert smiles intended to convince the folks back home that they were having a tremendous fun time with their mates.
In spite of this huge selfie demonstration, I’m still clueless as to the actual appeal of the selfie. The views were rather lovely but surely better without anyone gurning in the foreground. The idea of posing like a B movie starlet is just cringingly embarassing and would cause guffaws of laughter among my friends.
Maybe I just need to go on an Introduction to Selfie Poses course. There must be one. Several girls were adopting what seemed to be a popular simperingly sweet pose with a hand held limply under their chins. Their own hand, not anyone else’s – just to be clear.
They weren’t blinking or yawning or laughing so hard they looked like a mule with a new hat. Hmm, maybe there are some lessons to learn from all this…