Death by selfie
HYDERABAD: Selfies can sometimes be deadly. We hear and read about incidents of selfies going wrong and proving to be fatal — some die while taking a selfie, while lucky ones have a close shave.British photographer Martin Parr, who has spent years photographing tourists and tourism, has dedicated a new photo book to the selfie. His book titled Death by Selfie was recently discussed at the ongoing Indian Photo Festival at the State Gallery of Art, Madhapur.
Much of Martin’s work is associated with the tourism and comfort of suburban homes. But, his latest work — candid photographs of holidaymakers around the globe — captures the ritual of selfies in all its earnest absurdity.
“Many people have got killed while taking selfies. In both 2016 and 2017, 68 were killed by selfies. Many of the deaths occur when onlookers step in to try and rescue the selfie-taker from being washed away by freak waves. Such incidents usually happen near a water body. People also die by going too close to a raging fire or when they take a step back while on the edge of a cliff,” says Martin, who has published over 120 books of his work and edited another 30.
“However, to India’s great credit, this figure dropped substantially. The authorities in the country are aware of this hazard and so they do not allow selfies at many places. But, on the beaches of Goa, it is impossible to look around without seeing someone pose for a selfie,” Martin, who has travelled to India quite a few times, says.
Through his latest book, Martin attempts to photograph the huge business of tourism, the introduction of the smart phone and subsequently the selfie stick — all of which, he says, have changed the ritual of a tourist visit in a dramatic fashion. “I could not ignore this phenomenon and is celebrated in this small collection of images, where most are taken in India...,” he writes.