Story and photography by Ethan Meleg
Of all the photo gadgets I’ve ever laid eyes upon, my reaction to seeing a selfie stick for the first time went something like this: “That is the stupidest, most ridiculously douchie camera accessory EVER invented! What kind of shallow, narcissistic human being, so devoid of self-worth, would ever buy such an ego-maniacal piece of socially derelict junk?” I think you get the idea.
The popularity of selfie sticks grew as quickly as mosquitoes come out on a warm spring day. Selfie culture exploded. Dorky expressions and cheesy poses became the new norm when capturing photos at tourist landmarks. I routinely observed people using selfie sticks at ruggedly scenic locations, so engrossed in recording themselves in the scene that they nearly walked off big cliffs. Each time I’d think, “Well, who am I to get in the way of natural selection?”
My disdain for selfie sticks reached a pinnacle when I’d go hiking and get bumped into by others so preoccupied with filming their walk, they’d walk right into me. Or when I’d be shooting a landscape photo and someone with a selfie stick would walk in front of me, completely oblivious because they were busy narrating critical trip details such as how they had to stop to tie their shoes, or that they’d seen a chipmunk sneeze. Those experiences made me despise selfie sticks. I wouldn’t be caught dead with one!
Fast forward to Christmas time, and imagine my surprise when my dear mother handed over my stocking and the first thing I pulled out was a selfie stick. She was so excited about finding a trendy photo accessory for her favourite photographer. I responded by doing what any loving child would do in that moment: I lied. “I love it, mom, and can’t wait to try it!” I exclaimed while giving her a big hug.
Not wanting to offend my mom, I had to give the selfie stick a try and send her a few pictures. I carried it around in my camera bag and would pull it out periodically when nobody was around to see. And the unimaginable happened. I started to like it. The selfie stick allowed me to easily shoot behind-the-scene photos. It opened up new perspectives that had been beyond the reach of my arm. Best of all though, the selfie stick is fun for capturing stupid candid moments that make you laugh and that you want to remember forever.
So, that’s how a cynical, selfie-stick-hating goof, who used to make fun of those selfie people, is now proudly one of them. If I accidentally stumble into you on a trail or bump you off a cliff (and you happen to live), I’m very sorry…. and you can blame my mother!