The "Selfie" Generation's Next Iteration: The FrontBack App
Is Justin Timberlake's top-forty hit tune "Mirrors" a soulful lullaby to his better half -- or indeed is that mirror-image really -- himself? The more you analyze the lyrics with refrains such as "my mirror staring back at me", the more you realize the song could be considered this generation's mantra.
As self-involved as the Greek mythological figure Narcissus, today's Y-Generatiom/Millennials are evolving into what many are calling the "Selfie Generation." "Selfies" or self-portraits, often taken by capturing one's image off the reflection in a mirror, first surfaced on the photo-sharing site, Flickr in 2004 - and have since captured our global zeitgeist.
Time magazine included the selfie in its Top 10 buzzwords of 2012 (at No. 9) and New York magazine's 'The Cut blog' declared in April: "Ugly Is the New Pretty: How Unattractive Selfies Took Over the Internet."
The dead giveaway of a selfie portrait is when a person's arm holding the smartphone camera is captured in the photo. However, this is not always the case as evidenced by the raunchy photos of one's nether regions photographed by a politician who felt his best feature was other than his face.
However our self-absorbed world hasn't stopped at d*ck pics -- because, as we all know, the next shiny thing is just around the corner, or in this case already affixed to the opposite end of our cameras. On September 10, at Disrupt SF conference, CEO Frédéric della Faille took to the stage to introduce FrontBack to the world.
Differing slightly from the original "selfie" format, the new FrontBack app combines the photo of what photographers are capturing in front of them, in addition to a picture of themselves taking the photo. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, this app is optimized for iPhone 5, requiring a iOS6 or iOS7.
So how is this done simultaneously? Well, the app uses both the front and rear cameras when shooting -- and then combines them both into one photo, allowing the users to share them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook seamlessly. So, in essence, the selfie has expanded its purview to let people see one's view and their reaction to that view, at the same time.
Della Failles describes it as such: "The first shot increases confidence to then take the portrait and puts the user at the center of the experience." He says he conjured up the idea while in New York when he took two separate photos, one of his view - then a selfie of his reaction. He posted both online with the hashtag #frontback - and the idea for the app was born.
As testimony to its' appeal to the Selfie Generation, Jack Dorsey, Ashton Kutcher and the Prime Minister of Belgium are one the 200,000 that have downloaded the app in its first month, alone.
So, where do we go from here ye, selfies? Do we also need to capture our lives in 3D? Perhaps a view of what's above and what's below us at the same time might be a novel next step. Oh, wait a minute, someone's already figured that one out. . . yikes, can Anthony Wiener be that far behind?
You can get the Frontback app here.