Rhiannon Harries: 'Nothing says 'Cheese!' louder than those online self-portraits'

Share
Related Topics

You can spot them a mile off: the odd camera angle, a glimpse of awkwardly positioned arm. Mainly, it's the exaggerated tilt of the chin and the massive pout. No doubt the amateur photographic self-portrait pre-dates the social-networking revolution, but in the era of Facebook, MySpace, dating websites and Twitter, these über-posed images are everywhere.

In last week's furore around her alleged liaisons with footballer Wayne Rooney, reporters dug out some classic examples from Jennifer Thompson's Facebook albums. Since other pictures reveal Thompson to be the kind of gal who considers bra and knickers formal evening wear, you can hardly be surprised that at no point when creating such pictures did she stop to think, "Hmm, maybe this actually makes me look bit of a knob."

The try-hard self-portrait is not limited to wannabe Playboy bunnies, though. I've been taken aback several times by female acquaintances I'd thought were, you know, cool, popping up on screen apparently channelling Kate Moss. Ditto the odd male friend doing Ben Stiller in Zoolander. It seems perverse – if you are posing so outrageously that it's too shameful to ask another person to take the picture, why then share it with the world?

Of course, choosing a representative picture is tricky. It doesn't take an unhealthy level of vanity to prefer not to look an utter dog, so it is tempting to go for a flukey, ultra-flattering snap. But it opens up the possibility that people will a) not recognise you, creating an embarrassing "god is that you?" moment, and/or b) interpret your careful selection as a sign of pathetic vanity. Better to look like a dog, no?

I will admit that I have a default photo face (no-teeth smile, bite cheeks in a bit, try not to be caught shovelling food into gob). I plead that it's an attempt to look respectably average, not pro-model-pretty, and it doesn't always work.

For some, though, perhaps it is indeed a question of wanting to stack up to the beautiful people. So why, if the red-carpet pics in the glossies are anything to go by, do so many high-cheekboned, full-lipped celebs feel the need to pull the same moves?

Among the worst offenders are Liz Hurley, Sophie Dahl and Thandie Newton, none of whom need the help. Demi Moore's recent self-taken Twitter snaps of herself in a bikini (inset) were cringily unnecessary – she is known for little else than looking unfeasibly good these days; no need to overdo it. Still, I should be grateful – seeing a picture of Moore poncing it up probably does more for my self-esteem than one of Helena Christensen make-up free, mid-forkful and looking sublime.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Real Estate Solicitor 2+PQE - City

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGH VALUE REAL ESTATE / RESID...

General Cover Teacher

£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Are you looking for part time/ ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A couple calculates their costs with the help of some paperwork  

It’s the dream of escape that makes couples keep their finances secret from each other

John Walsh
Theresa May  

It's not hard to imagine Prime Minister Theresa May standing on the steps of Downing Street

Jane Merrick
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?