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SELFIE TEXT (PLEASE SEE ATTACHED FILE)
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SELFIE
Selfies aren’t exactly unique to the Millenial Generation. Afterall, anyone with a camera and mirror can easily take their own portraits – with some examples even dating back to the 1800s. Tripods especially have been used for the purpose of “selfies” for decades. Who among us can’t remember the setting the camera timer and the mad dash to get in front of the lens and make sure the group was composed?
From daguerreotypy, to albumin.
The 19th century is full of rapid change.
Photography is well outside the realm of
every day use, but many examples exist
of self portraits of these early photographers.
Kodam Kodachome is introduced and 35mm film
popularized – the format’s dominance
will last for more than 70 years. A tripod is
still required for any self pictures, but photography
has now become accessible and commonplace.
Instant photo gratification arrives with the Polaroid 600
series cameras, popularizing photography with a whole
new generation. Fences, rocks, and tables serve as
impromptu camera mounts for spontaneous photos.
Minolta introduces a 35mm camera with a “telescopic
extender for supporting compact camera” – the first modern
selfie stick but it doesn’t catch on.
The Kyocera VP-210 Visual Phone arrives on the market
in Japan, with a digital camera. Though limited to images at
0.1megapixels, it’s still the shape of things to come.
XShot introduces the first modern selfie stick – known then
as a “camera extender” in the United States at the CES & PMA
show in Las Vegas.
The iPhone receives the front-facing camera, making it the selfie
machine of choice. At the same time, Instagram arrives and quickly
becomes the world’s choice for photosharing.
GoPro releases the HD Hero2 camera, igniting the action camera space.
GoPro users quickly turn to the XShot as the first go-to accessory for self filming.
Selfie enters the popular culture full force with celebrities, politicians and evenOxford English Dicitonary.
The Future of the Selfie
Self photography, and now videography with the popularization of GoPro cameras goes well beyond silly happy snaps with friends. Photography has always been a blend of art and technology, and like any new technological advancement, there’s always the question of how lasting it will be – the focus now may be on the “fad of selfies”, but a desire for self-photography transcends the latest gizmo. It would be just as fair to ask if the tripod has seen the end of its useful time. Has our venerable three-legged friend ran its course except for professional usage? Given the state of ‘traditional photography’ perhaps this is a fairer question to ask than that of the selfie stick and the vibrant state of mobile photography.
Most people are now being introduced to photography through their smartphones, and every indications point to digital, and more specifically mobile phone photography, as all but replacing compact or full size cameras. The only exception to this trends lies only in specialized cameras for hobbyists, such as a DSLRs, or action cameras popularized by GoPro – with the latter also a market for “selfies” of their own sort with specialized, rugged poles.
In our connected world, the desire for travelers to show oneself in a place, or for loved ones to share pictures with far-flung family members and friends, has only grown stronger with the selfie during the past five years. However, many travelers aren‘t nearly as willing to hand off their phone to a stranger like they’d done for decades before with traditional cameras. The mobile phone is one of the most valuable and useful possessions while abroad and filled with personal information and payment accounts – in this instance the selfie stick or camera pole serves a wonderful option for safety, too.
At the end of the day the selfie stick is just another tool in a photographers kit, and it has more than earned that place. Photos taken and shared on a daily basis shows no sign of abating with the growth and engagement of Instagram eclipsing even Twitter and Facebook by many metrics. The trend of increasingly sophisticated cameras built into mobile phones will not slow, and therefore we should expect mobile phone to continue to be the primary camera for the majority of people. Having a handy gadget to assist in this is a fantastic thing for everyone.
The Business End of the Selfie Stick
Selfie sticks were one of the most popular items of all of 2014, and in 2015 the demand continues unabated. The potential global market size is estimated at well over £50million for simple selfie sticks, not to mention their specialized cousins used with sports cameras. Echoing this, the latest selfie trend has been away from the simple cheap gift, and towards a flight to quality. As people use selfie sticks and realize these devices are useful in many ways, much of the demand has shifted towards high quality instruments – something which the photography industry and retailers have a fantastic amount of experience with.
Perhaps the top quality device today comes from XShot, the original manufacturer of the selfie stick from 2007, which pioneered several patented features to the device which have stood the test of time. In 2015 XShot revamped its mobile phone selfie stick lineup with an all new design featured brilliant anodised aluminum construction and precision engineering to ensure the devices stand up to the rigors of travel and daily use, and has also added a range of hard-anodized aluminum camera poles suitable for sports and specialty outdoors use.
The opportunity for retailers is great when filling this genuine and real need of consumers. After all, taking and sharing photos of ourselves is nothing new – what used to take place around a shoebox or album of photos was replaced by the slide carousel and now swiping through a photo app. The selfie stick is just the latest tool that helps the photographer do what’s really the most important thing of all – capture the moment.