The ‘Selfie-tsunami’ has for some time now been crashing again and again across our PC screens. Girls take photos of themselves sunbathing on the beach and post the photo on Facebook. Couples take ‘relfies’ where they kiss and cuddle each other, to show the world how strong their relationship is. Guys take selfies of themselves surrounded by bottles of vodka in clubs to show everyone how much fun they are having, and mums-to-be take photos of their baby-bump from different angles and with different backgrounds and post them on Twitter.
The ‘selfie’ is an ongoing phenomenon, however, like everything else which has been popular for quite some time, it is also starting to become a bit of a joke. A ‘selfie’ is a snapshot – a millisecond – a particular moment in time when an individual wants to show off a bit and tell the rest of the world how fantastic and special his or her life is.
But is that really the truth? Can one specific and lonely moment in time really encapsulate and describe a person’s whole life? If I am happy right now sipping my cocktail in the sunshine, and I take a selfie, does that mean my whole day, indeed my whole week, or my whole life, is like this?
Of course not. Yet unfortunately, many people not only tend to want to project this idea through their innumerable selfies taken in interesting places or from unusual angles, but also take everything at face value themselves. This may also induce feelings of low self-esteem and sadness in people who are not sipping cocktails at 2pm but have to work instead, do not have a relationship which is so happy-go-lucky all the time, do not have the financial means to dine out every day and in general, do not have the perfect life that people who post these ideal snapshots seem to maintain they have. Feelings of depression, unworthiness and inadequacy may stem from this, which is totally wrong, seeing that selfies and photos are just representations of particular moments in time.
Behind the selfie, no one really knows what is going on in a person’s life.
This was the idea which germinated in the mind of Italian actor and author Francesco Clapis in 2014, when he started to direct and act in his short series on YouTube entitled Behind a Selfie. This series is made up of a number of very short fictional moments in Clapis’ life and that of his girlfriend, who is obsessed with taking selfies of a seemingly ‘perfect’ life. In reality, like everyone else, Clapis’ life and that of his girlfriend’s are far from perfect. In the series, we see them fighting not only with each other, but also with various members of their families, friends and neighbours. They fight, shout at each other, curse and swear, only moments before Francesca, Clapis’ girlfriend, shouts ‘SELFIE’, and suddenly everything freezes, everyone is miraculously happy and smiling, posing for the photo. For that millisecond, everyone pretends that they are happy and enjoying life, before everything starts going wrong again.
The series is very comical, with Clapis being portrayed in a number of not only everyday events, but also in fantastical ones. There is a moment where he’s about to jump off a window, and yet still manages to smile during the ‘selfie’ (before falling off, that is). He once catches his girlfriend with another guy in bed, is about to start beating him, and yet when Francesca shouts ‘SELFIE’, they all embrace and smile for the photo. The selfies are accompanied by hash tags all denoting the supposed love and happiness felt by the people in the selfie – another sarcastic jab at the pretentious falsity which permeates social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, where people can claim to have stupendously amazing lives, when in fact just lead normal experiences, with their ups and downs, just like everyone else.