Julia Herzig, a 22-year-old girl from Larchmont, New York, suffers from an “obsession”. This is a new kind of selfie that isn’t exactly true.
In some of these selfies, Ms. Herzig’s forehead sticks out halfway through the frame. Her eyes are half disks looking at something outside the camera. Her nose sticks out. Her mouth is invisible. These images look best when they have “ominous, creepy vibes,” she said.
RS. Herzig started taking these shots — called 0.5 selfies (pronounced “five-point selfies” rather than “half selfies”) — when she switched to iphone 12 pro last year and discovered that its rear camera has an ultra wide-angle lens that can make her and her friends look “distorted and crazy.”
But what seemed like a joke was more than a miss. Herzig, a recent graduate of Washington University in St. Louis. Louis thought. A few months ago, after spring break, she opened Instagram to a feed full of 0.5 selfies.
“Suddenly one day everyone took 0.5 selfies,” she said.
Wherever Gen Z gathers these days, there will almost certainly be a 0.5 selfie, capturing the moment with the occasional adulation – or comical lack of it. Selfies 0.5 appear on Instagram, multiply in group chats, become the subject of discussion at parties, and are often taken to capture the little things of everyday life.
Unlike the traditional selfie, where people can endlessly prep and pose, the 0.5 selfie — so named because users press 0.5x on their smartphone camera to switch to ultra-wide-angle mode — has become popular because it’s far from curated. Because the ultra-wide angle lens is built into the rear cameras of the phones, people can’t watch them take 0.5 selfies, creating random images that convey the whim of the distortion.
“You really don’t know how it’s going to turn out, so you just have to trust the process and hope something good comes out of it,” said Callie Booth, 19, from Rustburg, Virginia, who added that a good selfie is 0. 5 was the “antithesis” of a good frontal.
In their top 0.5 selfies, Ms. Booth said that she and her friends are vague and unflappable. “This is not the traditional picture perfect,” she said. “It’s more fun to look back.”
The problem is that taking a selfie 0.5 is difficult. Because of the rear camera, fishing and physical maneuvering are a must. If selfie-takers want to get everyone in the frame, they should stretch their arms as far as possible and up. If they want to maximize the degree of facial distortion, they should position their phone perpendicular to their forehead and right on their hairline.
On top of this acrobatics, as the phone flips, 0.5 selfie lovers must press the volume button to take a photo, being careful not to confuse it with the power button. Sometimes 0.5 selfies with large groups also require the use of the self-timer. You can’t see anything until a selfie is taken, which is half the fun.
“I just pick it up and don’t really look at it later, so it’s more like capturing a moment rather than seeing what it looks like,” said Soul Park, 21, from Starkville, Mississippi.
Wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle lenses are not new. First patented in 1862lenses are often used to capture more of a scene with a wider field of view, especially in architecture, landscape, and street photography.
“It goes back to when photography was a thing,” said Grant Willing, a photographer who reviews cameras for electronics supermarket B&H Photo Video.
Selfies popularized by celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, Kim Kardashian as well as Paris Hilton, are a more modern innovation (although even this is sometimes disputed). In 2013, Oxford Dictionaries added the word “selfie” to his online dictionary and marked it word of the year.
Due to the wide angle, objects closer to the lens appear larger, while those farther away appear smaller. This shift distorts objects in a way that is welcome in architectural photography, for example, but traditionally not welcome in portrait photography.
“Wide angle for portraiture has always been different because it only makes the image more distorted,” said Alessandro Uribe-Reinbolt, 23, a Colombian photographer based in Detroit.
mr. Uribe-Reinbolt said he recently brought wide-angle photography from his portrait work, where clients asked for 0.5 selfies, into his private life, using it to capture his friends, clothes and his daily life.
“It gives it a more casual look,” he said. “There’s a lot more creativity in the way you pick up the angle and the way you zoom in on it.”
An unedited 0.5 selfie is more organically playful than a forward-facing selfie. Posting a selfie on Instagram where the limbs are out of whack or the eyes are glitched should look silly, giving the impression that photographers take themselves and social media less seriously.
“Something about this breaks the fourth wall because you admit that you are taking a picture for the sake of taking a picture,” said Hannah Kaplon, 22, of Sacramento. “He’s trying to make Instagram everyday again.”
RS. Caplon, a recent Duke University graduate, said she now takes 0.5 selfies for most occasions: late night studying at the library, dinner with 11 guests, party watching a basketball game.
“Pretty soon, wherever I and my friends were, I was saying, ‘We should take a 0.5-inch selfie,'” she said. “The trend has taken on a life of its own.”