While you were taking your #selfie this morning (you know, because your hair just looked so good), another Instagrammer probably stood not too far away (perhaps on top of a chair, you know, to get a good angle) to get a picture of his/her picture-perfect breakfast spread. In typical Instagrammer fashion, you both mulled and mulled over which filter to select, but your decisions must have been different. Because, after all, a #selfie and a #shelfie are two very different things.
You know shelfies well, because Instagram is flooded with them on a daily basis: photos of a random, yet pleasing, array of items set on a shelf: An organic-looking setup of a Sunday morning in bed, a balanced smorgasbord of ingredients set out by an ambitious chef. The Wall Street Journal acknowledges these types of scenes as a rising trend in photo-sharing (and filtering) as “portraits of one’s taste…a twist on selfies, hopeful bids for attention in which one’s aesthetic and one’s ego overlap.”
Even though these technological still-life’s have to do with our tendency to over-share in search of approval, there’s more to it. Stylist and Instagrammer Hilary Robertson has noticed the trend herself, calling it “a museum of you…There’s a longing for individuality out there.” Certainly, as you might know, there’s quite a lot that goes in to styling a shelfie. As flawless as they might look, Robertson warns, “It’s got to be a bit off.” Avid Instagrammers know all too well the painstaking process it can take to achieve that shelfie shot—which, at the end of the day, is staged so with such diligence that it looks perfectly imperfect.