Selfie distance
Selfie distance

Although selfies are a global phenomenon today – a 2014 Google report estimated that only Android phone users were taking out 93 million of them every day – taking photos of ourselves is not something new. It is believed that an American businessman named Robert Cornelius became the first of these self-portraits in October or November 1839. However, at present, this photographic modality is part of the daily life of many people and, in fact, has become in the object of study of different research groups.

Thus, a team of experts in cosmetic surgery from the Department of Otolaryngology at the Rutgers School of Medicine in New Jersey, and the Department of Computational Sciences at Stanford University, has recently published an essay in the journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery in that come to confirm what many users already suspected: that our features come out distorted in many selfies. These scientists warn that, for example, we do not have the nose as big as it appears in most of them.

The key, it seems, is the distance at which the camera is placed. Images taken very close to the face tend to alter the proportions of facial features. “If the camera is close to a prominent element, such as the nose, everything around it will appear larger in relation to the rest of the face,” Boris Paskhover, one of the co-authors of the study, said in a statement. He works as a plastic surgeon at the aforementioned New Jersey institution.

Better, with stick

Pashkover and his collaborators have calculated that photos taken about 30 cm away increase the apparent size of the nose by 30% in the case of men and by 29% in that of women. In these snapshots, the tip of this organ also looks 7% larger compared to the rest of it, which is what it really is. On the contrary, an image of the face taken at approximately one and a half meters reflects practically the same proportions that can be seen with the naked eye. Therefore, sticks for selfies allow more natural shots.

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To determine this, these researchers used the measurements of different features of a large number of people conserved in a database to which they applied a mathematical model. “The problem is that many users, especially young people who take selfies constantly and share them on social networks, think that these images are a true representation of themselves, which can end up affecting them emotionally,” says Paskhover.

And it is that one thing is what we see as our selfies and quite another what others think. In a study published in 2016 in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, a group of researchers from the University of Toronto, in Canada, already pointed out that the authors of the self-portraits see themselves more attractive and interesting in them than in the photos of other people.


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