The Samsung Vanity Cam: Narcissism’s Never Been Easier!

10/07/2009 5:03 PM |


After years of pesky/depressing flash-in-mirror profile photos, Samsung has designed a camera that’s perfect for self-portraiture. For only $349.99, the Samsung Dualview TL225 with 1.5″ front-view LCD screen lets you know “exactly where you stand in your pictures” because, apparently, just knowing you’re alone taking pictures of yourself isn’t hip enough.

If it weren’t for the canyon this camera is carving into the narcissism niche, its combination of features—it also features an appropriately placed, 3.5″ touch screen with “haptic” technology—is arguably one of the best to be found on a pocket-sized point-and-shoot. But what about the long-term effects of keeping ourselves at arm’s length?

Ultimately, I think this process for accurate self-portraiture will backfire, as that flash is there to distract from the loneliness that serves as catalyst for a solo photo shoot in the first place, a millisecond of companionship that takes the place of someone telling us to say “Cheese”. But there’s no denying the marketing is genius. In one fell swoop, this camera corners the market on social media’s two most obnoxious demographics: the aforementioned self-portrait artist and the new-parent photographer. (The front screen can feature a terrifying clown graphic which, Samsung claims, will scare the hell out of hold the attention of small children long enough to capture them doing whatever it is they do that’s interesting enough to post online.)

Samsung encourages us to picture ourselves in the fun… but the photos we take of ourselves (with or without our friends) can’t truly document the best years of our lives. There’s too much manipulation of our history, too much self-indulgent posing that passes for self-representation. Sure, this camera will prevent the sharing of photos with a curved elbow in the frame, but what about the inevitable increase in the time spent snapping them that it promotes? We need to bust open the closed circuit of hand-lens-eye vanity. We need to preserve the time-honored shots that are over-exposed by flash, where the colors of the drinks and the cut of the clothes are the only clues to the environment. And, to do that, we have to zoom out and pass the camera to someone else.