The Leica “Selfie”

kubrickStanley Kubrick 1954

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.”

Leica selfie

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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?

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4 thoughts on “The Leica “Selfie”

  1. Rob Campbell

    “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?”

    “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.”

    Check No. 7: dig how rich and/or discerning I am!

    😉

    However, many owners seldom selfie.

    Rob

  2. Tadeas Plachy

    I take to of leica selfies, mainly when my wife is shopping for clothes and im stuck in shop with her or if i need to finksh last frame on a roll.

  3. Pingback: The Leica “Selfie” – The Photography Geek

  4. Paulo Moreira

    There is a good reason why Nex owners don”t take selfies, the majority is not inclined to narcisistic exercises. I confesss owning a Nex but also 5 Leicas. I feel no urge in sharing my face and cameras with the world. I don’t take any special pride in my cameras, but I do care about what they can produce. This is a rather utilitarian view of a Leica, I know, but if I am going to show some pride in my camera, then my face is not needed, just the picture that it can take.

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