Dying for a photograph
Did you know that males who take lots of selfies are more than statistically likely to be psychopaths and/or narcissists? Learn something new every day.
Selfies are often meant to glorify, well, oneself, so the narcissism notion makes intuitive sense anyway.
As you might know, taking selfies can be dangerous, too.
An excellent, well-written (and I must say, pretty darn mature for the Internet) article at Priceonomics called "The Tragic Data Behind Selfie Fatalities" tracks fatalities associated with selfie self-glorifying.
It won't surprise you that the median dead self is 21 and male, which, as the father of a just-turned-23-year-old, I have to say does throw a bit of a scare into my heart. I don't think my son takes a lot of selfies, though, so maybe he's safe.
And I don't think he's ever been in India, where more selfie-related deaths happen that anywhere else (it appears to be connected to the danger of drowning, which is high in India.)
A 17-year-old Russian identified to the public only as Andrey R., weeks before he fell nine stories to his death while attempting another
in a series of daredevil selfies
After laying out the statistics and some examples, author Zachary Crockett adds, "Then there are the truly bizarre cases: The 21-year-old Mexican man who accidentally shot himself in the head while taking a selfie with a gun. The Cessna pilot who crashed, killing both himself and a passenger, after his cellphone selfies led him to lose control of the aircraft. The two Russian teens who blew themselves up while posing for a selfie with a live grenade in the Ural Mountains. The man who attempted a selfie at the running of the bulls festival in Spain and was fatally gored in the neck."
As regular readers know, I hate irony. And here's a big one. I think the title says it all: "With Corbis Sale, Tiananmen Protest Images Go to Chinese Media Company." Ouch. Of course everybody's jumping up and down to reassure anyone who will listen that there's nothing wrong here, that everything will be hunky-dory and keep on truckin' as normal. But I wonder how that feels to the photojournalists who risked their lives to get the Tiananmen photographs.
Corbis, which was founded by and up till recently owned by Bill Gates, also includes the Sygma Collection and the Betteman Archive.
Easier? Hold on there, hoss
And here's another irony. As we all know, photography has taken a quantum leap in convenience and easiness over the past twenty years—after decades of striving and struggling to find ways to make sharp, clear color pictures with a minimum of expense and effort, the floodgates opened and the "digital tsunami" was unleashed on an unsuspecting world, which is still more than a little unsure how to make sense of it all and sort it into a coherent culture. By the best, albeit still very rough, estimates, humans were making six billion photographs annually in the United States the year I got into photography seriously, 1980. The latest estimates of photos taken range between one and ten trillion per year.
But at the same time, the climate for photographers out in the world doing their work has become much, much worse. Suspicion and hostility are rampant; often, even the police don't know the laws; and, increasingly, photographers are being seen as a resource to exploit—a recent article from The Australian called "Not a Good Look" includes an account of a photographer being charged money to take a photograph of a sunset.
So is photographing getting easier, or harder? Easier in some ways, yes, but don't overlook the other side of the coin.
(Thanks to John Hogg)
Ed. Note: I've held off publishing this post for some time because I can't find the name of the reader who referred me to the Australian article. I try my best to give credit conscientiously for tips and sources but I've looked and looked and I just can't find that one. My apologies. I just plain get too much email.
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