I have a face, but a face is not what I am. Behind it lies a mind, which you do not see but which looks out on you. This face, which you see but I do not, is a medium I own to express something of what I am. Julian Bell
Everybody these days knows what a ‘selfie’ is: a selfie (/ˈselfiː/) is a self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a digital camera or camera phone held in the hand, then often shared on social networks. It’s meant to be flattering and made to appear casual, although it usually is neither. Most selfies are taken with the camera held at arm’s length or pointed at a mirror, rather than by the traditional means of a self-timer. The camera used is irrelevant. The point is the person photographing themselves, the selfie itself the medium used, in the words of Julian Bell above, “to express something of what I am.” “Look at me,” the selfie says; “check out how 1) beautiful, 2) cool, 3) well-built, 4) pretty, 5) sexy 6) happy, 7) rich [or some variation thereof], I am.”
I’m intrigued by the phenomenon now known as The Leica Selfie. You see a few of them here, all fairly typical of the genre. The Leica Selfie has been around long before the concept of a selfie existed. That’s because The Leica Selfie is different: the camera must be in the picture in a Leica Selfie. It is an integral part of the selfie, actually the purpose of the selfie. The viewer is not looking at a face, but a camera in front of a face. To show the camera is at least as important as showing the person using it, the face important only to the extent that it identifies this person as using a Leica. The Leica is part of the mask; actually the Leica is the mask, placing the photographer in a historical tradition of use.
There are flikr groups of Leica selfies and Leica women selfies. You don’t find this with other cameras. There are no “Sony NEX Selfies” groups. Why?