Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
April 10, 2015

Selfie of the Week — Crossing the Starting Line First

Of course, it’s a knock-out photo just for the novelty of it. (The picture won first prize in the NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism contest in the Sports Feature category.) Selfies being the rage, the posting of each cool variant is like instant mileage (yes, in the social media marathon). To the extent this form is equated with self-absorption, however, this one goes the extra mile.

As the latest reminder of the power of a caption (or in this case, the backstory), we learn this photo was not snapped in celebration of a well-earned athletic victory but that the selfie-absorbed kid merely sprinted ahead of the pack at the beginning of this high school cross country race. Combining that fact with the sense all these kids were made visually complicit in a premature, or at least, a different kind of celebration, makes for a championship moment on its own. (It certainly was for the photographer.)

In this digitally-winning “me” era, you could almost see it as a narcissistic stampede.

— Michael Shaw

(photo: Troy Wayrynen)

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