My first one-on-one encounter with a selfie stick took place in October 2014. I was opening packages for my boss when I unwrapped the technological device from a pair of gifted jeans. When I realized what it was, my heart swelled. I had wanted to try one for months — a truth (and for a while, a secret of mine) completely devoid of irony.
The selfie stick’s origins are rooted in the technology first introduced via the GoPro. GoPro cameras are ideal for extreme action sports like motocross, surfing and skydiving. They’re able to capture mind-blowing videos from the participant’s point of view through the lens of a camera mounted to a hands-free headpiece or at the end of a durable, extendable pole.
The selfie stick, however, is GoPro for the average Joe. It’s perfect for tourism. Ideal for friendship. It’s wondrous at the beach and works just as well while hiking. If you’ve ever felt the need to photograph a stranger’s meal three tables away, the selfie stick is gold.
Imagine if Ellen Degeneres had a selfie stick at the 2014 Academy Awards. How many more of our favorite actors could’ve fit into the frame? Jared Leto’s immaculate face and perfectly tousled hair wouldn’t have been 79% cropped out! Maybe Leonardo DiCaprio would have made the cut.
In addition to celebrity group shots, selfie sticks are terrific for good old-fashioned fun. There’s no need to pause the moment and slow the momentum by arguing over who has the longest arm. Selfie sticks allow you to be utterly independent. Gone are the days of asking a stranger to take your picture, or worse: someone’s little brother.
Yes they’re embarrassing. Yes they’re widely considered “lame.” But so were Birkenstocks and mom jeans. It’s just a matter of time. Besides, use of a selfie stick not only ensures quality control, it frees up your other hand to high five your friend mid-snap of the brand new profile pic you both can finally agree on.
Every other week or so, I receive a text from a friend with selfie stick-validating content: Beyoncé in “7/11.” Diddy, his selfie stick and a yacht. Recently, five different friends sent me the same link: a Vogue interview featuring Derek Zoolander, Hansel McDonald, and Anna Wintour. It was filmed backstage at Valentino with — you guess it: ye old extendable, dependable stick.
I bask in the validation these industry luminaries provide to my beloved mechanism. More thrilling to me, however, is that my contemporaries seem to be either giving in or catching on, too. The other day, a recently engaged co-worker held back the usual sarcasm while informing me that she’s considering providing selfie sticks for each table at her wedding reception. Now that’s the spirit.
Selfie sticks teach us to let go and live a little. Scratch that — they extend so that we can live large. A good photograph is a good photograph, but a great photograph has a story — the selfie stick helps capture that. Embrace the stick and repeat its mantra: always raise the bar.
Edited by Amelia Diamond