Though Albrecht Dürer, the 15th-century German painter, is widely credited as the first artist to explore self-portraiture, the origins of today’s selfie actually extend all the way back to man’s first scrawlings in the caves of Lascaux. Every image has a mission, and those prehistoric hunters were after fresh meat. So, the next time you’re debating whether or not to join in #toplesstuesday? Maybe just go for it; you’ll be contributing to a long and venerable artistic tradition.
First, though, you want to make sure that selfie achieves its goal. And while just about everyone has abandoned stiff-necked oil paintings for smartphone snaps, there is still very much a craft to capturing one’s best likeness. For those less trained in the dark arts, hare are a few helpful tips that can help create a better selfie.
1. Location Isn’t Everything
While an exciting backdrop—on the dance floor at Berghain, on the hood of a Citroën DS—isn’t essential to capturing a stellar selfie, it’s hard to overlook the obvious markers of a public restroom. Best to keep your set simple and clean.
2. Filtered is Better
Northern light is not always abundant and compact fluorescent bulbs can quickly turn you into RoboCop. Thankfully, with the simple tap of an app, your appearance can be dramatically altered. Experiment. And if you’re in a bind, remember: everything looks better in Hefe. (Also remember: absolutely no Waterlogue.)
3. Know Thy Angles
No face is perfectly symmetric, so whether you know it or not, you do have a good side. Figure out what it is. Hint: shoot down to avoid adding a chin or three.
Once you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to put your skills to the test. Alcatel ONETOUCH is hosting a selfie competition called “Unexpected Casting.” The contest, which will be judged by such masters of the medium as Bryan Boy, Cool Hunting’s own Evan Orensten and Adriana Gastélum, will select winners in five different categories: naughty, wild, geeky, dumb and childish. So look into the light, channel your inner Egon Schiele and turn yourself into some fine art.
Photos by Josh Rubin, David Graver, Patrick Emanuel, Katharina Galla and Dani Parker