Seeing Obama, Cameron and Thorning-Schmidt posing for a selfie during Mandela’s tribute made me wonder, not for the first time, exactly what is the point of a selfie?
Why this trio should be doing it at such an inappropriate time when they could get thousands of pictures of themselves is also beyond me, but that’s for another day.
For those who don’t know, a selfie is a picture that you take of yourself.
I think I read the term selfie was going to be added to the Oxford Dictionary’s next edition – which, if that’s correct, goes to prove its new-found popularity.
But why are they so popular when they are always awful? Who hasn’t at one time or another taken a picture of themselves only to reveal quadruple chins, blotched skin and a hint of a squint?
It’s nigh on impossible to get a decent image of yourself unless you’re under the age of 20, have super-long extendable Inspector Gadget arms and can smile with the enigma of the Mona Lisa.
Maybe it’s all part of the digital revolution and the fact that we can dispose of images so freely.
Remember the time when you had to buy film? There was no way that you’d waste one of your precious 24 shots on something so risky as an arm’s length self-portrait.
Because that’s what selfies are – high risk. I defy 99 per cent of the population to take one – just one – which shows them at their glorious peak.
With no-cost photography we can choose very clearly how we represent ourselves and others, completely to the best of each of our photogenic ranges.
I’m guilty of it – I made my youngest daughter take 15 or so pictures of me before I was happy with the one that made it on to my profile picture on Facebook.
We’re a narcissistic society, so entrenched in our own beauty, and our own portrayal of that beauty that we’ll gaze into pools forever and forget how to live.
The ultimate in selfies has to be the one taken by Elaine Benes on the TV show Seinfeld. She took a picture, had multiple copies made, then used them as a Christmas card – only to discover her nipple was exposed. A cautionary tale indeed.