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.

TIME Arts

Reddit User Makes Greco-Roman Statues Look Like They’re Taking Selfies

The future of art?

In case you were curious, that is the face of a Greco-Roman statue, modeled after those at the Vatican Museum, “posing” for a selfie.

Thanks to some careful camera angling, Reddit user “jazsus_ur_lookin_well” took these photographs of statues at the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork, Ireland, as a way to join old art with new… art. (Is a selfie art? What would Kim Kardashian say?)

“The staff in that art gallery were giving me some strange looks,” the user wrote on Reddit.

At least this person didn’t break any of them.

(h/t Bored Panda)

TIME society

Millennials’ Worst Nightmare Realized When Fake Security Guard Fines People For Taking Selfies

Apocalypse Instagram.

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New Yorkers reacted to a sign recently placed in Central Park declaring it a “Selfie-Free Zone” Monday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to midnight as you’d expect they might: They took selfies with it.

In the latest edition of Jena Kingsley’s YouTube series, the prankster put on a security uniform and informed people that their selfies were punishable by a $50 fine. And some of the filter-loving photo takers were not pleased with the supposed de Blasio New York policy.

But even though the video just aims to poke fun at our cultural selfie craze — “Can you imagine what our pics are going to look like to our children and grandchildren?” Kingsley asks TIME — it hits a little close to home. Some institutions are at war with selfies. They have been banned at some school graduations, in clubs, and a New York law now prohibits direct contact between the public and tigers or other big cats as more and more men make “tiger selfies” their profile pictures on online dating sites.

Is this parody really a look into a post-selfie future? Sparrow face while you still can!

TIME viral

Men Are Shaving Their Chest Hair Into Bikini Tops Because… Oh, Wait, There’s No Good Reason

They did not wake up like this

We don’t know why men are choosing to manscape their chest hair into the shape of bikini tops — both halter and strapless for easier tanning — but according to trend-tracking listicles, it’s officially #ChestHairBikini season y’all.

Advertiser approved!

Granted, the all-natural mankini isn’t exactly a new revelation. It has been ongoing since the invention of Spring Break and tequila shots, but it is reportedly reemerging on the beach scene…whether you asked for it or not. Here’s one of photos that started the trend, which dates back to at least Sep. 2013 on Twitter:

Everyone pack up your towels, it’s time to go home.

TIME viral

Watch a Teen Who Took a Selfie Every Day for 7 Years Transform Before Your Eyes

“I was taking selfies before they were cool.”

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Kim Kardashian might get a lot of selfie buzz, but according to 19-year old Hugo Cornellier, “I was taking selfies before they were cool.”

Almost every day for the last seven years — “Out of 2500 pics I should have, I’m missing about 50,” he told TIME — Cornellier sat in front of his computer to take a selfie, capturing experimental facial hair and all.

Over the years, Cornellier has posted updates on his YouTube. But the recent video tracking his development from 12 to 19 has been a particular hit, accumulating 1.2 million views in just over 2 weeks.

And Cornellier isn’t planning on stopping any time soon.

“I still take a picture every single day,” he said. “This will go on forever. I never plan on stopping.”

TIME psychology

What People Learn About You From Your Selfies

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Woman looking at reflection Vintage Images—www.jupiterimages.com

The pictures you post online could affect the way people treat you in person

According to new research, there are scientific reasons why you judged that girl who posted a selfie on Instagram last night.

It’s no secret that people make snap judgments about each other, but the study, conducted by researchers in the Department of Psychology at the University of York, was able to accurately predict what those judgments would be based on facial measurements such as “eye height” and “eyebrow width.”

Previous studies have shown that first impressions often fall into three categories: approachability, dominance, and attractiveness. The researchers at the University of York took 1,000 photographs from the Internet, analyzed the facial features of the subjects (who were all Caucasian), and studied how people reacted to each photograph. They were then able to develop a statistical model that predicted what the viewer’s impression of the face would be based on the measured facial features.

The findings of this study help illuminate the importance of these impressions in an age of social media, in which pictures of faces proliferate and people meet, talk, and even date online. According to the researchers‘ report, curating the perfect photo for these websites isn’t as trivial as it seems. “Some of the features that are associated with first impressions are linked to changeable properties of the face or setting that are specific to a given image,” they wrote. “So things like expression, pose, camera position, lighting can all in principle contribute alongside the structure of our faces themselves.”

Perhaps the most surprising finding was that snap judgments based on a photo could shape the way we respond to a person even after we’ve met them in person. The researchers explain it this way in the introduction to their report: “Although first impressions are formed rapidly to faces, they are by no means fleeting in their consequences. Instead… facial appearance can affect behavior, changing the way we interpret social encounters and influencing their outcomes.”

Less surprisingly, the research showed that “masculine” faces, determined by factors such as cheekbone structure, eyebrow height and skin texture, were seen as dominant, whereas more feminine faces were perceived as more attractive and youthful.

But the researchers also found that the shape and size of a person’s mouth directly affected his or her perceived approachability, and that larger eyes tend to predict higher levels of attractiveness.

So it’s time to stop making fun of people who obsess over choosing their profile picture. Richard Vernon, a PhD student who worked on the study, said, “Showing that even supposedly arbitrary features in a face can influence people’s perceptions suggests that careful choice of a photo could make (or break) others’ first impressions of you.”

TIME viral

This Is What It Looks Like When The Queen Photobombs Your Selfie

One is amused

An Australian field hockey player was minding her own business, talking a selfie at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, when her picture was photobombed by the Queen. As in, Elizabeth II, Queen of England.

AND she was smiling.

This wasn’t the Queen’s first time embracing millennial photobomb culture, either:

Royals. They’re just like us.

TIME space

NASA’s Curiosity Rover Takes Selfie to Mark First Year on Mars

NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover captures a selfie to mark a full Martian year -- 687 Earth days -- spent exploring the Red Planet.
NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover captures a selfie to mark a full Martian year -- 687 Earth days -- spent exploring the Red Planet. NASA/JPL

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover will complete its first Martian year on June 24th. The rover took a ‘selfie’ to commemorate its 687-day stay on the Red Planet — Earth days, that is.

Curiosity made some groundbreaking findings in its first “year” on the planet. In Aug. 2012, Curiosity succeeded in its main mission, to determine if Mars ever harbored the environment to support microbial life. The Curiosity rover drilled into the Martian Gale Crater, in the Yellowknife region, finding a former lakebed containing what NASA called “essential elemental ingredients for life.”

This spring, the rover spent its time collecting sandstone samples in Windjana, an area south west of the original Bradbury Landing site. The rover will continue moving south west towards Mount Sharp, its final destination.

TIME movies

VIDEO: Space Aliens Meet iPhones in an Exclusive Clip from Earth to Echo

Unlike E.T., today's aliens want to use the phone to do something other than call home

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The idea that aliens might choose to communicate with Earthlings via our technology is far from a new one. It’s in movies from Close Encounters of the Third Kind to Contact, and — sort of — in real life, as the choice to send vinyl records on the Voyager space explorer shows. But none of the people involved in those stories had something that almost everyone has today: a cell phone.

The upcoming movie Earth to Echo, out July 2, changes that. A bit of family-friendly sci-fi in the E.T. vein, it’s about a group of friends who — after receiving strange cell phone messages — suspect that something fishy is going on in their neighborhood, right before the area is to be bulldozed for a highway construction project. And, as the exclusive sneak peek above shows, the kids at the center of the story are more than proficient when it comes to their phones.

The phones are also how first contact takes place—as seen in a second clip, below—and how some of the movie’s scenes are presented, mixing a found-footage style with the first-person GoPro aesthetic.

The idea that cell phones would ruin the plots of older movies isn’t a new one — for example, the entire plot of Home Alone could have been avoided if Kevin could call his folks at the airport — but not everything is messed up by constant communication. As Earth to Echo shows, sometimes the cell phone is the plot.

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