The Rise of the Candid Self-Portrait (or Why You Need a Photo Booth!)

I didn’t hear it myself, but it must have made a sound. I’m talking about the collective snorting through upturned noses all across the globe, just after the folks at Oxford Dictionary announced the 2013 Word of the Year. If you haven’t already heard, the word is selfie. I suppose the definition could be along the lines of, “Candid photographic self-portrait, often used to fish for affirmation on social media sites.” Do you think Oxford will include an image with the entry? I’m thinking washed-out bathroom-mirror snapshot of someone in duck-face—that kissy, pouty close-up that says, “I deserve a catwalk.” I personally hope they opt for this one, the first papal selfie on record:

The Pope Selfie

So, what is it with selfies? Or as a friend once asked me, “Does nobody know how to use a camera’s self-timer anymore?” I suppose selfies are the lazy man’s answer to self-timers, but there’s more to it. Yes, they require no tripod or stabilizing surface. Yes, they can be done on the fly. But they also allow a looseness and spontaneity that self-timers don’t afford. And the usual equipment—a smart phone and one’s own arm—are pretty dang portable and ubiquitous.

Selfies also highlight something about human nature. People do enjoy having control of how they look and what they’re doing in a given photograph, with precise control over when the shutter goes click. So, it’s not surprising to me that along with the rise of the selfie has come the rise of the photo booth. They’ve really become all the rage for everything from wedding receptions to family reunions to holiday parties. We rent one out for events, and it’s taken off like wildfire.

Behind the privacy of the photo booth curtain, you’d be surprised how crazy people get with a few props in reach. In these selfie times, people love that they get to take home a souvenir of the fun in the form of an old-school photo strip. (The host receives a CD with all of the photo strips as well as a sewn leatherette keepsake album, too.) If you’re interested in trying out a photo booth, keep in mind that we offer a deep discount to schools and nonprofits. And keep in mind that 2013 is officially the year of the selfie. The photo booth is basically one big selfie studio!


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