Under the immense Christ the Redeemer statue that overlooks Rio de Janeiro and its picturesque Guanabara Bay, dozens of tourists jockey for position to get selfies with the stunning panoramic view illuminated by the setting sun.
A tangle of arms and selfie sticks are lifted for solo shots, couple snaps, family photos. Getting the perfect picture with the statue or Sugarloaf Mountain in the background is the goal.
The only definite fail? Ending up with other tourists taking selfies in the frame.
Brazil is a selfie-mad country. But it is hardly alone.
Around the globe, selfie culture has become a facet of daily life. Social media sites are flooded with pictures, and tourist attractions are overrun with those seeking selfie nirvana.
In some cases, that quest for the ideal happy snap has been deadly, when amateur photographers take the hobby too far. For celebrities, it can be a moneymaker.
But for the average tourist, it’s a way to make memories.
Philippe, a young French engineer on holiday in Brazil who has Christ-like long hair, positions himself in front of the imposing Christ the Redeemer statue, an Art Deco work made of reinforced concrete and soapstone.
“My colleagues laughed, saying I look like Jesus. So I needed to take a selfie to send them,” he said.
But he isn’t all in on the idea.
“On social media, it can give a false impression. People only post pictures of beautiful things — the sun, Rio, the beach,” he said. “People end up getting depressed because they have the idea that their life is crappy.”
For Brazilian Daniela Lemes, taking selfies is “a happy moment, shared with family... in marvelous places like this one.”
On the other side of Rio, at the waterfront Museum of Tomorrow, aesthetician Tatiana da Silva de Paula admits she takes 100 to 200 selfies a day.
“First I take some to see how I look. Then I post them on social media for my friends and family,” she said.
About 9,000km away, in the heart of Rome, the Trevi Fountain is the must-have selfie spot.
Sarah and Fivos, a British couple from Manchester who came to the Eternal City to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary, were part of the selfie scrum.
“We are happy with the selfie we took, but with so many people, you have to wait for the right moment to get the good shot with no people in the frame,” said Fivos.
Nearby, Elia and Chiara, two young Italians, took a selfie with their parents in the background... taking a selfie.
On this day, as on most days, there is such a huge crowd at the fountain — immortalized by Federico Fellini in the film La Dolce Vita — that tensions can mount.
In August last year, police had to separate two groups of tourists who had come to blows when they wanted to take a selfie at the same spot.
In Athens, even celebrities join the millions of tourists seeking romantic mementos. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg showed up at the Acropolis with his wife in May, after music legend Paul McCartney did the same.
PRACTICALLY A NATIONAL SPORT
In Egypt, before the Great Pyramid outside Cairo — the last of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World still standing — Bangladeshi tourist Sheila Ahmed uses her smartphone to do as so many have done before her.
“Generally, I am not a fan of selfies but it’s easier to just hang up your phone and take a picture of yourself at whatever place you want,” she said. “Especially here I am in front of the Great Pyramid — where would I want to take a selfie if not here?”
In the US, at Mather Point on the majestic Grand Canyon’s south rim, picture-taking is constant, but some go to extremes — and the very edge of the cliff.
“We can see well enough from here,” British tourist Kathryn Kelly said, looking at a woman in an especially risky spot. “I don’t see the point stepping closer to the edge.”
In South Korea, taking selfies is practically a national sport. To mark his 100 days in office, President Moon Jae-in shot a selfie video message.
North Korea seems to be the last place on Earth immune from selfie fever, where people prefer more traditional pictures.
Nevertheless, the country’s leader Kim Jong-un has posed for two selfies — with a Singaporean minister and a Russian journalist.
Tobie Openshaw is confident that Taiwan’s government has good reasons for not including him in the Triple Stimulus Voucher Program, which launched at the beginning of this month. That’s just as well, because it seems unlikely he’ll ever discover the logic by which it was decided that he, along with other foreign residents not currently married to Taiwan citizens, shouldn’t receive the vouchers. “We’ve stood side-by-side with our Taiwanese friends through the COVID-19 crisis, complying with government measures, cheering its success and sharing that news with the world at large. If the stimulus coupons are meant to be spent to keep
When the BBC approached Caroline Chia (查慧中) in July 2018, and asked her to make arrangements so a documentary-making team could gather footage showing how global warming may be increasing typhoon intensity, she delivered everything that was in her power to provide. Chia got permission for the BBC crew to shoot inside the Central Emergency Operation Center, film the army’s disaster-relief efforts and follow mayors around as they supervised the cleaning up. “In total, it was about one week of work for my cousin — who’s my business partner — and I,” recalls Chia, who was born in Taipei but
Taiwan’s artist community was outraged when the authorities banned Lee Shih-chiao’s (李石樵) Reclining Nude (橫臥裸婦) from the 1936 Taiyang Art Exhibition (台陽美術展覽會). The Taiwan Daily News (台灣日日新報) reported that after hours of deliberation, the officials censored the piece for “contravening public morals.” Although the government did have rules on publicly displaying nude art, the state-run Taiwan Fine Art Exhibition regularly featured naked women, allowing more revealing pieces each year. On the same page, the newspaper ran a scathing criticism of the decision by an anonymous artist. “This is completely laughable … If they really thought [Reclining Nude] contravened public morals, they
John Thomson was a pioneering photographer in the 19th century and one of the first to journey to East Asia. In 1871, while in China he met Dr James Laidlaw Maxwell, a fellow Scotsman who was returning to Taiwan, where he served as a Presbyterian missionary. Maxwell’s description of Taiwan intrigued Thomson, and the photographer decided to accompany Maxwell to the island then known to Westerners as Formosa. Disembarking at Takow (today’s Kaohsiung) on April 2, 1871, Thomson brought with him the best photography equipment of his time, along with thousands of glass plates — an estimated 200kg of equipment. The