Selfie sticks

The selfie stick is a useless invention that probably only shows the self-centered personality shift of our time.

(my inner voice five years ago on selfie sticks)

The brain is a great invention. It allows you to keep thoughts to yourself. That way I skipped the opportunity to completely embarrass myself five years ago. My brain, however, is a crazy bastard, who quotes itself afterwards anyway. Now everybody knows. Damn it! Stupid brain.

Well, but why was I wrong five years back? Because I didn’t know that a selfie stick can not only be used to put yourself and your lunch in one picture, but also to take pictures of yourself in front of famous buildings around the world. But wait, my inner voice might say:

20 years ago we just asked other people to take pictures of us. People lost the ability to help each other nowadays!

Uhm, yeah, maybe. We live in a time when almost everybody constantly has a camera on hand, because it is part of every smartphone. We have websites like tumblr and instagram, where people post images all day long. Most people even know how to manipulate and improve images with photoshop or similar software. So my inner voice might add:

Look, even the number of semi-professional photographers increased. So why not let one of these experienced people take a picture of you? It will be fabulous!

Sounds legit. Unfortunately it isn’t. Because people take pictures of themselves and their food. Taking pictures of other people and buildings is a different profession and takes different skills. „Stop making fun of the instagram generation!“, my inner voice complains. I’m sorry buddy, but this is no joke. We often asked people to take a picture of us. But the only one that turned out to be good was this one:


Let me explain: There are three important things that must be on this picture. Cora, me and the Hungarian Parliament. The photographer – another tourist – understood this. That’s why you can see Cora, me and the entire parliament on this picture. Our bicycles and legs are cut off. But that’s ok, because he couldn’t move back any further – there was a road – and the cloudy sky with the sun shining through above the parliament looks actually pretty impressive.

Now look what usually happens:

Gonbad tower – Gonbad, Iran

Let me explain: There is a very unusual brick stair in the foreground that caught the photographers attention. At the same time a pink elephant was dancing on the roof of the tower, but what can I say….unfortunately it is not on the picture.

Huge flag pole in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
Huge flag pole in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

Let me explain: This could be the highest flag pole in the world. Unfortunately it has been cut off by the photographer. That’s why the highest flag pole in the world is not in Ashghabat, Turkmenistan, but in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. By the way: Cora was not around, she took a break in the shadow. The photo was taken by a dude. They cannot think vertically.

Independance monument - Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
Independence monument – Ashghabat, Turkmenistan

Let me explain: Look, the kickstand I bought in Iran is still intact. It broke apart in Tajikistan. There is also a monument in the background. The Turkmen independence monument. I know it is unremarkable and tiny. There is something on top of it. Well, use google image search to find out what it is.

Char Minar - Bukhara, Uzbekistan
Char Minar – Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Let me explain: On the picture above you see the world famous Char Minar in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. It even is on the cover of the Lonely Planet „Central Asia“. Char means „four“ and Minar means „Minaret“. I bet you can guess why it is called that way. The photographer positioned us perfectly centered. He also included much of the centuries-old concrete floor. Then he decided that two Minarets are sufficient. That’s art! – you don’t need to understand.

Golden Pagoda - Bagan, Myanmar
Golden Pagoda – Bagan, Myanmar

Let me explain: Bagan is famous for its many German tourists with silly shorts and for its subtropical plants. Look, there are two of these tourists and some plants. Did I mention, that there are also some temples and golden pagodas in Bagan? Anyway, look at the nice pedestrian way! It’s amazing.

Shwedagon Stupa, Yangon

Let me explain: My favorite one! The Shwedagon Stupa in Rangon is probably the most famous stupa in the world. It is an amazing 105 meters high and completely covered in gold. There was a very friendly woman, who offered to take a picture of us. Afterwards I walked towards her, because I wanted to take the camera back. She then said: „No thanks, it’s free. No money!“. OK, so we were lucky we didn’t accidently give the camera to a tourist scammer. Anyway, did you notice this incredible formation of concrete tiles in front of us and how we have no shoes on? Maybe I should start a book about concrete floors around the world. I will publish it as an e-book for Amazon Kindle. For free! You know? No money!

Conclusion: If you go on a journey take a selfie stick with you and take the pictures yourself. It is not self centered. Literally. Because what other people do is putting yourself in the center of the picture, ignoring any famous sight behind you.

And unless you want to help me find great pictures of concrete floors, please listen: If someone asks you to take a picture of them in front of a famous building, try to understand that they didn’t travel half around the world to get a passport photo. Instead try to get the people and the entire building on the image. If there is still room on the picture – for God’s sake! – find a nice piece of concrete and release the shutter.

One thought on “Selfie sticks

  1. Mit Deiner Hilfe, lieber Wolfgang, also Deinen Kommentaren zu all den Bildern hab ich mich heut‘ morgen fast weggeworfen vor lachen… ich seh‘ die jeweiligen Fotografen vor mir, die einfach ernsthaft versuchen auf die Schnelle ein Foto von Euch und den jeweiligen Begebenheiten zu schießen. Ich denke sie sind genauso überfordert wie ich, z.B. wenn mich ein Tourist in Bamberg bittet, ein Foto zu machen… In dieser Hinsicht sind Selfies eine super Entdeckung. Man ist eigenverantwortlich und wenn man jemanden bittet, dann weiß Mann/Frau jetzt, dass diese Person ihr Bestes gibt und der eigenen Sichtweise und allen möglichen Ablenkungen ausgeliefert ist…Ich persönlich
    werde in Zukunft versuchen, Deine Ratschläge diesbezüglich (also in dieser Stresssituation für jeden Amateurfotografen) parat zu haben 😉

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