So really, what’s with all the fuss about Selfie Sticks? Museums and concert arenas have been on a stampede to ban them. You could argue that they make some valid points, but guess what—Selfie Sticks are not going away anytime soon.
At major tourist areas like this city built on water, the self and group portrait assistant is alive and well—indeed it’s thriving.
“I’ve never seen so many anywhere,” says Sheila Chaudhry, a tourist from London visiting Venice for the first time. “Everyone’s carrying them.”
And why not?
Out here, as folks gather to capture their memories, usually on the Rialto bridge overlooking the Grand Canal, the Stick really does help for way better group portraits.
Let’s face it—our arms only reach so far, and it’s hard to reach the shutter button on the smartphone camera and get everyone in there.
Along with the Italy t-shirts, captain hats and postcards, street vendors are hawking selfie sticks for as little as $3 equivalent. Anywhere there’s a glorious view (which is pretty much anywhere here) there are groups of guys urging you to take a cruise down the water—and buy yourself a “Selfie Stick.”
The entry level selfie sticks out here are manual models—to take the photo, you have to put the smartphone on self-timer. The more expensive models have a cord that plugs into the headphone input. A bluetooth button on the stick snaps the shutter on the smartphone camera, making it much quicker to snap the image.
Maria Gracia from Spain bought the automatic model. “I can take a photo and I’m happy for that,” she said.
Mexican tourist Yolanda Canalis lugged her Nikon DSLR camera from home for the trip, and bought a stick from one of the vendors. Pointing to the camera, :”this is for the buildings,” she says, while the stick “is for me,” to take self-portraits in front of postcard moments. “I’m on a trip alone, and this is practical. ”
Museums, from the National Gallery in London, Smithsonian in Washington and Getty Center in Los Angeles to upcoming music festivals Coachella and Lollapalooza recently announced Selfie Stick bans, citing concerns for art being inadvertently hurt, or at the concerts, people getting bopped on the head.
That many museums are moving to ban selfie sticks isn’t that much of a surprise. They already mostly ban taking photographs within their property. And most concerts do have a “no photography” policy already in place, even though they’re rarely enforced when it comes to smartphones.
So sure, “Selfie Stick” bans make for great headlines, but let’s not forget that the places banning them weren’t camera friendly in the first place.
For the rest of the world—public gathering spots—expect to see more sticks this year, not less.
Unless some smart tech guru can come up with a way to extend our arms, the Selfie Stick solves a problem that’s not going away.