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Of course, we’ve seen any number of pics this past year in which a major world leader or international celebrity willingly cooperated with a “civilian” in bestowing the souvenir of a lifetime. Not so here, however, on the Queen’s visit to Belfast where the kid’s not asking, he’s taking. I’m just waiting for the first security honcho to label this behavior an assault, or “visual terrorism” even. If the selfie is quickly becoming an unremarkable ritual, what is notable here is the way it breaches the boundary between the commoner and the high and mighty.
This selfie also manages to challenge the unstated rules about privilege and physical space. Specifically, the deep red device upsets the symbiotic relationship between the visual media and our cultural icons. (Of course, it’s a news photographer that captures the fact.)
I wonder if another thing this illustrates is what junkies we are for a screen. What I like most about this photo, however (even if the suits are security), is the difference in behavior between women, on the one hand, and men and boys on the other.
(photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images. caption: Jun. 24, 2014. A local youth takes a selfie photograph in front of Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to St George’s indoor market in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Royal party are visiting Northern Ireland for three days.)