Selfie Scene

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‘Barcelona Inspira’ selfie scenery at Plaça Catalunya, Barcelona.

With the invention of the ‘selfie’, the traditional comic foreground or carnival cutout is rendered obsolete, along with the profession of carnival portrait photographer. Now, any props or scenery must be situated behind the photographic (and photographing) subject, so as to maximize liberty of movement for selfie-sticks and extended arms.

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Example of a traditional comic foreground (image courtesy dulltooldimbulb.blogspot.com). Not very appropriate for selfies.

The comic background must be made significantly larger in size than the comic foreground, since it is situated further away from the camera’s vantage point. Furthermore, it need not be compressed into a two-dimensional representation any longer, since even mobile phone camera optics permit a much greater depth of field than the early cameras used by carnival portrait photographers. The new comic background of the selfie era can thus take the form of a large sculptural prop, as the wishfully ‘inspiring’ trencadís cloud in Barcelona’s Plaça de Catalunya makes evident.

Conclusion: the increased size and three-dimensionality of comic scenery for ‘selfies’ makes this type of scenery much more ‘architectural’ than its traditional 2-D comic foreground counterpart.

Nevertheless, Gaudí and Jujol must surely be rolling in their graves.

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Detail of ‘Barcelona Inspira’ selfie scenery

About Rafael Gomez-Moriana

I am an architect, writer and educator. rafagomo.com chronicles my architectural making, writing, teaching and curating activity, while criticalista.com is an archive of my writings as well as a platform for venting personal rants and observations. I studied architecture at the University of Waterloo (Canada) and at the Berlage Institute (the Netherlands). I direct the University of Calgary’s architecture term-abroad program in Barcelona and teach at CIEE, and have previously taught in the Metropolis Masters Program in Architecture and Urban Culture as well as at Carleton University and the University of Manitoba.

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