The Rise of the 0.5 Selfie

Julia Herzig, 22, of Larchmont, NY, has an “obsession.” It’s with taking a new kind of selfie – which doesn’t exactly suit.

In some of these selfies, Ms. Herzig’s forehead blows in half of the frame. Her eyes are half disc, looking at something outside the camera. Her nose sticks out. Her mouth is invisible. She said these images are best when they have “ominous, creepy vibes”.

Ms. Herzig began taking these pictures – a 0.5 selfie (pronounced “point five” selfie, and not a “half” selfie) – when she upgraded to the iPhone 12 Pro last year and discovered an ultra-wide-angle lens in her rear camera. Is what could make her and her friends look “perverted and insane”.

But what seemed like a joke was bigger than Ms. Herzig, a recent graduate of the University of Washington in St. Petersburg, Lewis, thought. A few months ago, after a spring break, she opened Instagram for a feed full of 0.5 selfies.

“Suddenly, one day, everyone was taking 0.5 selfies,” she said.

Wherever General Z gathers these days, he’s almost bound to take 0.5 selfies, capturing the moment with a random compliment – or his miraculous lack of it. 0.5 selfies are appearing on Instagram, circulating in group chats, parties are being discussed and small details of everyday life are being written over and over again.

Unlike traditional selfies, which people can endlessly prepare and pose, the 0.5 Selfie – the name because users tap 0.5x on the smartphone camera to toggle in ultra-wide mode – has become popular because it is not curated. . With an ultra-wide-angle lens built into the phone’s rear camera, people can’t see themselves taking 0.5 selfies, creating random images that show a wave of distortion.

“You don’t really know how it will come out, so you just have to trust the process and hope that something good will come out of it,” said Kelly Booth, 19, of Rustberg, Va., Who added that a good 0.5 selfie is a A good front was the “opponent” of facing.

In her best 0.5 selfie, Ms. Booth said she and her friends are pale and straight-faced. “It’s not the traditional whole picture,” she said. “Looking back makes it more fun.”

The problem is that 0.5 selfies are hard to take. Due to the rear camera, angling and physical maneuvering is inevitable. If everyone taking a selfie wants to fit in a frame, they have to extend their arms as far and as far as possible. If they want to maximize how bad their face is, they have to keep their phone perpendicular to their forehead and to the right side of their hair floor.

On top of these acrobatics, as the phone is flipped around, 0.5 selfie enthusiasts have to press its volume button to take a picture, taking care not to mistake it as a power button. Sometimes it is also necessary to use a self timer for 0.5 selfies with large groups. Nothing is visible until the selfie is taken, which is half the fun.

“I just take it and I don’t actually see it until later, so it becomes more about seeing what everything looks like as opposed to capturing the moment,” said Soul Park, 21, of Starkville, Miss.

Wide- and ultra-wide-angle lenses are not new. First patented in 1862, the lens is mostly used to capture more visual with a wider field of vision, especially in architectural, landscape and street photography.

Photography has been a thing of the past as long as it goes back, said Grant Willing, a photographer who reviewed the camera for electronics superstore B&H Photo Video.

Popular selfies by celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton are more sophisticated innovations (although these are sometimes controversial). In 2013, Oxford Dictionaries added “Selfie” to its online dictionary and named it Word of the Year.

The 0.5 Selfie was born out of the convergence of selfies with a wide-angle lens, made possible in 2019 with the addition of ultra-wide-angle lenses to Apple’s iPhone 11 and Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and newer models.

Due to the wide angle, subjects near the lens seem larger, while distant subjects seem smaller. It distorts shift subjects in a way that is welcome, for example, architectural photography but traditionally depressing in portrait.

“The wide angle for the portrait shoot has always been really different because it makes it more distorted,” said Alessandro Uribe-Rainbolt, a 23-year-old Colombian photographer living in Detroit.

Mr. Uribe-Rheinbolt said he recently brought a wide angle from his portrait work – where clients have asked for a 0.5 selfie look – to use it in his personal life, to capture his friends, his attire and his routine.

“It gives it a more casual look,” he said. “There’s a lot more creativity with the way you angle and the way you approach it.”

The unedited 0.5 selfie is more systematically playful than the front facing selfie. Posting a selfie on Instagram, where the limbs are numb or the eyes are crooked, means stupid, it seems that photographers take themselves – and social media – less seriously.

“Something about him breaks down the fourth wall because you admit you’re taking a picture,” said Hannah Capello, 21, of Sacramento. “He’s trying to make Instagram casual again.”

Ms. Kaplan, a recent graduate of Duke University, said she now takes 0.5 selfies for most occasions: late night study in the library, dinner with 11 guests, basketball game watch party.

“Very soon, wherever my friends and I were, I thought, ‘We have to take 0.5 selfies,'” she said. “Trend has taken its own life.”

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