TIME celebrity

Fans Freak Out That Kim Kardashian ‘Cropped’ North West Out of Selfie

When it comes to Instagramming celebrity motherhood, it's "you lose some, you lose some"

Kim Kardashian fans are incensed, simply incensed, that the reality star apparently “cropped” North West out of her latest selfie posted Monday:

😘

A photo posted by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

The off-center shot, showing a sliver of North’s face, was reamed in Instagram comments—proving that when it comes to celebrity motherhood, social media is often a “you lose some, you lose some” scenario.

If Kardashian posts a picture of her baby on Instagram, she’s accused of something ridiculous like waxing the tot’s eyebrows. If she posts a picture in which North’s face isn’t fully in view, she’s “ruthless” or afraid to share the spotlight.

TIME Television

One Direction And Jimmy Kimmel Take ‘Cutest Selfie Ever’

Complete with children, feather boas, and of course, a boy band

Jimmy Kimmel was on a mission to take the “cutest selfie ever” with boy band One Direction on his show Thursday. To make it cuter, he added children, puppies, bunny ears, feather boas, stuffed animals and a mini unicorn. Of course, fans of One Direction would say the cutest part of the picture was the members of the internationally known boy band themselves.

One Direction’s recently released their newest album “Four.”

 

TIME TV

ABC Cancels TV Comedy Selfie

BRIAN HUSKEY, KAREN GILLAN, DAVID HAREWOOD, JENNIFER HASTY
"Selfie," on the ABC Television Network. Nicole Wilder—ABC

We hardly new ya

ABC revealed Friday the network is not renewing the TV comedy “Selfie” for another season past the original 13-episodes ordered.

The comedy, which stars Karen Gillan and John Cho and delves into a helplessly narcissistic woman’s relationship with social media, suffered from abysmal ratings and ridicule on social media of some views, Entertainment Weekly reports, averaging 4.7 million viewers and a 1.5 rating among adults 18-49.

In September, co-star John Cho sat down for an interview with TIME about the new show, in which he fretted over the show’s name.

“I was scared that people would never watch the show because “selfie” of course sounds terrible,” Cho said. “And it should! It is a good gag reflex we have as a society, that we hear the word selfie and dislike it. Maybe we should loathe the concept a little bit.”

ABC says the show will air in its scheduled time slot next Tuesday but what happens after that is unclear.

Selfie meets the same fate as ABC’s “Manhattan Love Story,” which was canceled last month.

TIME space

The Rosetta Spacecraft Took an Epic Selfie With a Comet

Using the CIVA camera on Rosetta’s Philae lander, the spacecraft have snapped a ‘selfie’ at comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko from a distance of about 16 km from the surface of the comet. The image was taken on Oct. 7, 2014 and captures the side of the Rosetta spacecraft and one of Rosetta’s 14 m-long solar wings, with the comet in the background.
Using the CIVA camera on Rosetta’s Philae lander, the spacecraft have snapped a ‘selfie’ at comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko from a distance of about 16 km from the surface of the comet. The image was taken on Oct. 7, 2014 and captures the side of the Rosetta spacecraft and one of Rosetta’s 14 m-long solar wings, with the comet in the background. ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

Mission Selfie: Accomplished

Europe’s Rosetta spacecraft took a selfie published Tuesday that is, quite literally, out of this world.

Rosetta’s mission is to land on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The spacecraft is very close to its target, enough that the comet appears in the background of this image only 16km away.

Rosetta, dubbed Europe’s “comet chaser,” went into space in 2004. It had many things on its to-do list, including eventually landing on 67P. But for now, Mission Selfie accomplished.

TIME Hajj

Hajj 2014: The Year of The Selfie

Hajj is an annual pilgrimage for Muslims all over the world

Hajj is a pilgrimage that all Muslims must partake in at least once. It is also the largest annual gathering in the world with millions of people coming to pray at the holy site, Mecca. But this religious tradition has a new element: selfies. Taking a selfie at Hajj has become a trend, especially now that camera phones are no longer strictly banned at the site. However, some people are against taking self-portraits at what is supposed to be “a pilgrimage that contains no boasting or showing of[f]” according to Arab News.

TIME Television

John Cho: Why Skeptics Should Give Selfie a Chance

John Cho
John Cho Richard Shotwell—Invision/AP

"If you think you’re going to dislike the show, watch the show — there’s somebody who would dislike the show on the show"

The story of My Fair Lady gets a social-media makeover on ABC’s Selfie, premiering Sept. 30. Karen Gillan of Doctor Who fame plays Eliza, who’s more obsessed with Facebook “friends” than real ones, while Cho plays Henry, the luddite teaching her people skills.

TIME: Now that you’re starring on Selfie, do you feel pressure to take selfies now?

John Cho: No, I don’t know that it’s a good idea for people to take their own photographs.

You sound a lot your character.

I am a little curmudgeonly about new media. Although, like the show, Karen admonished me and said, “You should be tweeting more.” I have been more active, and it is more interesting than I thought.

Were you ever on Facebook?

Never. I have this nightmare that one day I will have to look at every picture I’ve ever taken with people in an airport or in bars or restaurants, and it will make me very sad. It will be like the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. — a descending wall of sadness.

Sounds like you want to go off the grid.

I am just a poser. Of course I wouldn’t go off the grid. Of course I depend on technology. I just have this idea of myself as someone who doesn’t do this sort of thing. It’s just a way of connecting. Our species likes being social. This is a way to maximize that desire.

As a parent, do you think a lot about what technology you give your kids and when?

My kid was two, and we went down to Union Station here in Los Angeles. I took him down to the train station because he was so into trains at the time. He went to the map and pinched his fingers on the map because he thought it as a touch screen!

Oh wow.

That was horrifying. I think we’re freaked out that that’s all they’re going to do, but my kid loves books as well. He watches YouTube and likes the big TV screen and then likes books and crayons. The scope is wide. Maybe because I didn’t have much of it back then, once we had cable, I never wanted to do anything but watch cable. And so it’s an old-school mentality: our parents thought that sitting too close to the TV was bad for your eyes and would melt your brain. I believed it, and I think I’m applying it to my kids. But I don’t know whether it’s true. They just seem to float between media very easily.

Do you think people are prejudging the show?

I was scared that people would never watch the show because “selfie” of course sounds terrible. And it should! It is a good gag reflex we have as a society, that we hear the word selfie and dislike it. Maybe we should loathe the concept a little bit.

Your character is almost a proxy for the audience, then.

If you think you’re going to dislike the show, watch the show — there’s somebody who would dislike the show on the show.

Perhaps they didn’t get that it’s loosely based off My Fair Lady.

Yeah, I thought that was a big deal. When I saw My Fair Lady, I was surprised at how mean and misogynistic Henry was. Maybe that’s why it’s dropping out of public consciousness.

Does the show set out to correct that?

I don’t think so. They’re dealing with that push-pull a little bit. I feel like social media, in a way, you could call it feminine. If you accept the premise that women are more social, women are more about connecting with other people, then social media is the most extreme version of that. And the most extreme version of gossip, which is considered a feminine trait. Henry is the antithesis and therefore the masculine viewpoint. You could see it as male-versus-female, this show. I think that sort of is underpinning the show, to an extent.

If the selfie backlash is already brewing, how will the show stay hip?

The show starts at pop culture, but ultimately it’s about these two people who shouldn’t like each other but are starting to. That idea has legs.

A version of this story appeared in the Sept. 29 issue of TIME, available now.

TIME Media

The Private Self(ie)

"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1" Party - The 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival
Jennifer Lawrence attends the "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1" party at the 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 17, 2014 in Cannes, France. Mike Marsland—WireImage

Pressure on girls to take sexy selfies comes out of a culture that equates modesty with shame, instead of seeing what it really is

Since the Jennifer Lawrence photo hack, Internet security has come under scrutiny. But why do many young women feel the need to take and share nude selfies in the first place? Don’t get me wrong: I think hackers are morally reprehensible and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But I also think that we need to build an alternative to the dogma “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.” Young women are told that it’s a sign of being proud of your sexuality to “sext” young men—a philosophy that has turned girls into so many flashing beacons, frantic to keep the attention of the males in their lives by striking porn-inspired poses.

Today if you watch the famous Algerian-French singer Enrico Macias singing to his late wife, Suzy, about how he “won her love,” their dynamic seems as if it’s from another planet. Some might watch this decades-old video and imagine her passivity indicates that she wasn’t empowered. But I see something else in her shy manner and dancing eyes: a drama between them that was not for the public to see. The words of his song are certainly moving—“In the exile’s nights, we were together/ My son and my daughter are truly from you/ I spent my life … waiting for you”—and yet there was even more than what those beautiful lyrics revealed.

The pressure on girls today to take sexy selfies comes out of a culture that routinely equates modesty with shame, instead of recognizing it for what it really is: an impulse that protects what is precious and intimate. Teenage girls need to know that when boys ask them for naked pictures, they can—and should—say no. It’s not merely because those pictures can find their way onto social media. (Even without the aid of hackers, such photos seem to have a way of slipping their iPhone collars and circulating with astonishing ease). A better reason to say no is that, having set a higher standard, maybe someone will write a love song for them instead.

And if the boys don’t, who cares? Modesty is, at its essence, about having an internal sense of self, not needing others’ approval of how you look (naked or otherwise) to know that you have a unique purpose in this world, and certainly not needing all your friends to like your Facebook post in order to know you’re great.

My heroine this month is Zelda Williams, who stood up to online bullies when they weren’t satisfied by the photos she had posted of her late father Robin Williams. When they attacked her cruelly and publicly—some Twitter users even sent her horrific Photoshopped pictures of her dad to “punish” her for not posting enough pictures of him—Zelda zinged back on Instagram: “My favorite photos of family are framed in my house, not posted on social media, and they’ll remain there.” Her message was both brave and countercultural.

The larger issue here is our addiction to externalizing our private experiences to the point where we have nearly lost the ability to simply enjoy moments privately (or be allowed to mourn privately).

Did you hear about the woman who felt compelled to update her Facebook status while driving on a North Carolina highway? “The happy song makes me HAPPY,” she typed, a second before her car crashed into a truck. A Polish couple recently wanted to take some selfies near a cliff, and then—putting a bit of a damper on things—they actually fell off the cliff. It’s easy to distance ourselves from these tragedies and think, That’s crazy! That would never happen to me.

And yet social media is filled with videos of parents scaring their toddlers or filming their tearful reactions when told that Mommy ate all their Halloween candy. I seem to be nearly the only person who doesn’t find these videos funny, nor do I think that the appropriate reaction to a child’s tantrum is to film it and commiserate on Facebook about how hilarious it was. To me, these parents have fallen off a different cliff, albeit an imperceptible one; they’re breaking a private trust in order to feed the public’s appetite.

I can’t prove it, but I believe that the collapse of the public-private distinction has dialed down our capacity for empathy. Real empathy requires a private, intimate space, and, of course, a time when you’re not on Facebook. Last Saturday, my 3-year-old daughter fell asleep in her Sabbath finery after a spirited trip to the park, and it was one of those perfect moments. I gazed at her sweet slumber on the couch and I sighed, saying to my husband, “The Shabbos photos you can’t take are always the best ones.” (As Jews who observe the restrictions of the Sabbath, we don’t take photos on this day.) Then I realized, maybe it’s not that Sabbath photos are better in any objective way. Since I couldn’t immediately reach for my phone and capture the picture, I had no alternative than to be in the moment and drink it all in: her little chest rising and falling, her fancy dress artfully decorated with grass stains and crumb cake. What was she dreaming about? I was able to notice things and really throw myself into the moment in a way I never would have had I rushed for my camera as usual.

From a technical standpoint, the scene was mundane, but private, unmediated moments have a special quality. Let’s try to enjoy more of them.

Shalit’s first book, A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue, was recently released in a new 15th-anniversary edition.

TIME technology

How the Selfie Stick Is Killing the Selfie

The “selfie stick”—a small, articulated monopod designed for cell phone-wielding photographers—is, by all accounts, more popular than ever. “[Just last month], I’ve seen several around midtown Manhattan, including inside Grand Central Terminal and outside the main branch of the New York Public Library,” says Henry Posner, the director of corporate communications at the popular B&H Photo retail chain.

“The extension handles for smartphones are very popular, deceptively simple, and elegantly designed,” he tells TIME. “And the addition of a remote, whether mechanical or via Bluetooth, makes using one a snap. If you’re old enough to remember the old days of setting a camera on a tripod, setting a self-timer and then sprinting around to get into the group before the picture was taken, you can really appreciate how simple and clever these are.”

For Posner, the selfie stick’s success mirrors GoPro’s popularity among extreme-sports aficionados who regularly film and photograph their performances. However, warns Laurence Allard, a French professor and mobile technology specialist, the very name of the product itself might be self-limiting.

“It’s contradictory,” she says. “The selfie isn’t just a portrait. It has its own codes and rules, and the main one is that a selfie has to have been taken by hand. An authentic selfie should show it was taken with your arm extended—that’s a sort of signature.” And, she explains, the use of a selfie stick removes that particular element from the frame.

The selfie has long had a bad reputation. It’s been demonized and held up as the latest and most egregiously obvious symptom of a narcissistic society. But, argues Allard, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

“The selfie originates from established self-portrait practices in the history of painting and photography, but also from online practices best represented by the use of profile pictures,” she tells TIME. “It possesses a real genealogy. But it has also found its own autonomy and definition. Today, we’d be mistaken to define the selfie as a narcissist object or simple self-portrait. In my opinion, the selfie is a mobile photographic genre in itself—one that didn’t exist before. It’s deeply linked to mobile photography, a genre that’s not only about the connected image, which is meant for others, but also about expressing your own interior voice.”

looq-sIn fact, says Allard, the selfie is not so much about a person’s view of him- or herself as it is about that person’s particular place in the world. “It’s a portrait created by the self, of the self, within its surrounding environment, with the specific goal of sharing that portrait with friends, family or a larger community online. The selfie doesn’t exactly fit in the history of photography because of its temporality. It’s not necessarily created for historical and memorial purposes; it’s created with the idea of direct communication.”

In essence, it’s more a document of the present, while traditional photography largely relates to the past.

Unfortunately, Allard argues, the selfie continues to be the target of derision, despite its popularity across all generations of cell phone users. “It’s bogged down in this narcissist argument. It’s often confused with profile pictures and with some self-representation practices that we can see on Facebook.” And journalists are partly to blame, she says. “The media tends to highlight online social practices as being the result of narcissistic behaviors, simply because Internet and mobile phones are communication tools open to everyone.” In fact, these new communication tools have helped us, Allard says, because the media have now lost their centuries-old monopoly on not only the creation but the mass distribution of both images and of speech.

“By equating these social practices with narcissism, the media [attempts] to neutralize their social potential.”

And the growing popularity of these selfie sticks, which have become the media’s latest targets of criticism, won’t help in redeeming selfies.


Laurence Allard is a Communication Sciences professor in Paris and Lille, France, and the co-author of the book Mobile Phone and Creation at Armand Colin / Recherches. She’s also the author of the Mobactu blog.

Olivier Laurent is the editor of TIME LightBox. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @olivierclaurent


TIME Social Media

Is This Woman the World’s Selfie Queen?

Meet the mysterious Thai woman who's posted more than 12,000 photos of herself

Kim Kardashian’s new book, Selfish, reportedly has 1200 selfies. But a woman from Bangkok, Thailand, makes her look like an amateur. Mortao Maotor, as she calls herself on Instagram, has posted more than 12,000 pictures of herself to the internet, often at a clip of more than 200 a week. She has about 20,000 followers, a not particularly high number, but she more than makes up for it in her dedication to her craft. So we’re wondering: could she be the selfie queen?

By way of comparison, Mr. Pimpgoodgame, the self-proclaimed selfie king from Texas, has 10 times as many followers but has posted a paltry 600 self portraits. Jen Selter, who has garnered more than 4,000,000 followers with pictures of her unusually rounded rump, has posted only 457 shots at last count. And then there’s Ms. K., with her millions of followers–but counting her self-portraits would be as absurd as counting sand. The Kardashians play in a their own selfie league.

Mortao, which is not her real name, defies the stereotype of the selfie-taker. She’s 40-ish, not famous and is married to the owner of Room of Art, an antique store/art gallery in Bangkok at which she takes many of her photos. Mortao doesn’t speak English, but through a woman who answered the phone at the Room of Art and said she was Mortao’s husband’s daughter, she declined to comment on why she posts so many selfies, saying it was “quite personal.” Other posts suggest she has older siblings and loves dogs and desserts.

It’s not all that surprising that Thailand, a country which reportedly has more mobile phone subscribers than it has people, might be the home of world’s most dogged selfie taker. During the coup in May, some locals even took selfies with the soldiers enforcing martial law. The country’s Ministry of Health was moved to issue a warning that taking and posting selfies was not helpful to the self-esteeem of young Thais.

Not all of Mortao’s pictures are of her face. She also likes to shoot her legs and her iced drinks or meals (many of her pictures are taken from a Bangkok Starbucks or an After You cafe.) But the overwhelming majority of them are classic selfies. She has fondness for shots taken in apparently the same bathroom mirror, perhaps the one in the Pantip Plaza in Ngam Wong Wan near Bangkok, which is often geolocated in the photos. While her photos often draw risque comments, and some are suggestive, none of her images are pornographic, and she only replies to the clean remarks, with unfailing politeness.

Mortao, whose account was first brought to our attention by the social media analysts at Nitrogram (now called Totems), is an impressive candidate for the biggest Practitioner of Selfie Taking Extraordinarily Regularly (POSTER), but we’d be willing to entertain others.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser