South Korea has the highest smart phone usage in the world. 40% of all people have smart phones, that number was less than 2% four years ago. They are the object I see most commonly used by all people in Korea for almost every purpose. Given that more than 10 million people in Seoul now have a camera in their pocket that can take unlimited photos at no extra cost, everything gets its photo taken. One of the most ubiquitous and interesting uses if that of the self-pic.
And why not right? All the latest phones have a front-facing camera so why bother wasting a minute fetching someone to take your photo when you can take an endless stream of your own where you and your friends can fight over how best to take the photo.
I have seen quite a few ridiculous self-photo events. One of my favorites was when I was in a cafe with a friend and we saw two girl friends with an iPad. Friend #1 was attempting to get just the right self-photo, trying to make herself look good while showing that she was definitely at a cafe. She decided leaning it up against her glass of water was best. Friend #2 offered to help by holding the iPad, but instead of just using the full-resolution back camera, she instead continued to blindly use the front-facing camera, getting minute adjustment feedback from friend #1. Has the self-photo now become the default?
I've seen selfies everywhere. No occasion is too trivial or too important to make it exempt from holding a camera phone out in front of you and capturing your face.
Koreans are definitely not the only people in the world to be doing this, but at the very least, I see it a hell of a lot more often here than anywhere else.
I guess I'm acclimating...