At a glance, taking photos using selfie sticks is a clever idea . You stand there, strategically position your camera+stick, work out your angle, ensure there is balance between the foreground and background, then click! Voila, you have a perfect photo to cherish for a lifetime!
I thought a selfie stick will finally sort out our holiday photo dilemmas. It means we no longer need to ask a complete stranger to take our photo. Marvelous!
But I was wrong. The truth is, depending on the circumstances and location, I find selfie sticks annoying. I am strongly convinced that there is a time and place for its use. Museums and restrictive spaces are not one of these places. If there are people around who would like to enjoy without a stick blocking their view, one must be considerate. It seems to me that there should be a code for the appropriate use of selfie sticks.
Although what I had mentioned so far may be superficial, a photo taken by a complete stranger has many benefits attached to it:
(1) It enhances your skills in assessing people. Who can take a good photo and who cannot? The guy with a DSLR? The smartphone user? The cool teenager or the serious-looking yuppie or perhaps the retiree? And when you got it right, you will feel amazing that you spotted the right person plus of course, a great photo to keep. Just make sure you choose a person who will not run away with your camera or phone!
(2) It opens conversations. There were many times when my husband and I have approached complete strangers for a photo. They took our photo and we took theirs. Conversations thereafter were about where each was from, shared holiday notes, exchanged holiday tips, which restaurants served nice food, recommended places for next holidays etc. Asking others to take your photo enhances human interactions, that digital technology had somehow limited in this day and age.
(3) The excitement and surprise of a candid photo. Whether you asked someone to take your photo or you set the timer on, there is sheer excitement in seeing the final product. It may be disappointing sometimes and may take a couple of takes, but all of these become part of the story of the photo. From our many holidays, I can still remember the people who took our photos. The stories about them such as ‘I took a great shot for them but they cut my hand out on this one’. Other stories included ‘Look, you were partly sat on that one because you were running to beat the timer!’ or ‘We have a photo bomber!!’.
(4) Lighter load. Overall, the most convenient way of travelling is bringing less. While touring, especially around Europe, it is specially important to keep your load as light as possible. Indeed, having a selfie stick means having a potential self defence material but most of the time, you will be carrying it around like a twig that you picked from somewhere.
Unless one plans to take a hundred photos, I feel selfie sticks do not promise to capture far more unique angles of the whole experience of a holiday. If one is really inclined on having a ‘selfie’ to give in to the trend, they simply have to extend their hands as far as possible, like Plastic Man or the Incredibles!