Selfies Are Ruining Your Relationship, According to Florida State Study

A new study may have you thinking twice about posting a selfie to Instagram. According to research done by Florida State University, those self-indulgent photos could actually be having a negative impact on your relationships.

To determine the consequences of posting selfies a team of doctors surveyed a total of 420 Instagram users between the ages of 18 and 62. Each person was asked to provide information on the number of selfies they post, their feelings about themselves after, and the current state of their relationships.

What the researchers found was that body image perception was highly influenced by the feedback they received on their selfies. When the approval for their photos was high, so was their personal satisfaction—no suprise there. But, when the response was negative, satisfaction fell. Apparently, that can create Instagram-related conflict and dealing with the online haters can lead to a negative impact on your relationships IRL.

“When Instagram users promote their body image satisfaction in the form of Instagram selfie posts, risk of Instagram-related conflict and negative romantic relationship outcomes might ensue,” the study said.

So, if your relationships are more important than chasing likes on the ‘Gram, you might want to lay off the selfies.

It’s That Time Of Year Again: We Want Photos Of Your Mall Visit To Meet Santa Claus

‘Tis the season when parents pack their kids into the car, drive to the mall and deposit their offspring on the laps of mall Santas all around this great nation, which means it’s the right time for another of our favorite holiday traditions: seeing our readers’ photos of kids reacting hilariously to the bearded stranger their parents have forced them to hang out with.

Yes, we want to see photographic evidence of children freaking out with costumed mall characters, and we want you to send them to us to share with the world. Do your parents have great pics of that time you tried to rip the Big Guy’s beard off during a screaming fit? Did your child burst into instant tears when faced with that red, velvety expanse of lap?

To send in your photos (the larger the better!), here’s how you go about it:
1. Attach it in email with the subject line 941 SANTA 2015
2. Include your child’s name and age in the body of the email (or if it was you way back when, your name, age at the time, and the year the photo was taken) along with any fun anecdotes about the experience.
3. Send it to for us to enjoy, watermark and share on the site on Christmas Day.

Please note, you need to be the child’s parent or the subject of the photo for your photo submission to be published, or we’ll have to get permission directly from the parents if you’re someone’s uncle or aunt. Gotta prove that stuff.

‘Selfie Arms’ Might Be The Only Thing That Look More Stupid Than Selfie Sticks

Sometimes, innovation is bad. I just want to go on record saying that, and I want to say that nothing looks more stupid than trying to cover up something stupid. Selfie sticks are stupid! I want everyone to live their truth and use them and have stupid fun, but let’s not add to the stupidity of the situation.

Or let’s. A Japanese man who goes by the name Mansun has devised a way to disguise your selfie stick with none other than an imitation human arm. Here’s a breakdown of his proposed solution to your so-called ‘problem.’

First, you will need the confidence to do this in public. Then, a selfie stick with a human hand built in. Naturally.

And then you’re good to go! You look like one of those windsock men that flags people down for car sales, but you know. Whatever.

This Photographer Set Out To Prove Skateboarding’s Global Reach

Skateboarding has gone global. Marble ledges, untouched plazas and lenient security in China and Russia beckon pros. Skatistan in Afghanistan encourages kids, girls specifically, to utilize a skateboard as a tool for empowerment. The construction of skateparks and donated boards in South America and Africa are spreading the sport like wildfire.

Photographer Jonathan Mehring knows all of this better than anyone. His new book, Skate the World, a collab with National Geographic and Levi’s, showcases the sport’s worldwide reach. He focuses on skate spots both legendary and secret and shows that skating has no boundaries (besides a little gravity).

We recently got on the phone with Jonathan to discuss his new book, how it came about, and what it’s like to search your own name at a Barnes & Noble help desk.

SKATE THE WORLD PERMITTED USE: This image(s) may be downloaded or is otherwise provided at no charge for one-time use for coverage or promotion of National Geographic SKATE THE WORLD Photographing One World of Skateboarding. Copying, distribution, archiving, sublicensing, sale, or resale of the images is prohibited. Mandatory usage requirements: (please note: you may select up to seven (7) images from this selection online use and four (4) images for print.)  1. Include photo credit and caption as it appears on this sheet with each image 2. Show the cover of SKATE THE WORLD 3. Mention that the images are from SKATE THE WORLD DEFAULT: Failure to comply with the prohibitions and requirements set forth above will obligate the individual or entity receiving this image to pay a fee determined by National Geographic.  PAGE 79 Photo by Jonathan Mehring GUY MARIANO ~ GRAN CANARIA, CANARY ISLANDS, SPAIN Trick: Switch crooked grind

How did this all come together?

I had a conversation with Nat Geo in 2009. I had a meeting there after the subject of possibly doing a book came up at a Christmas party at my parents’ house. They’re family friends with a book editor from Nat Geo — that was totally random. At the time, I had no idea she was a book editor, I thought she was just one of my parents’ friends. But at the party we started talking and she was asking a lot about what I was doing. She saw the initial promise and opportunity.

So, that Spring in 09′ I went down to Nat Geo for a meeting and it went really well — I thought it went really well. Everyone seemed excited about the work but there was no real direction at that point. There also may have been some resistance from the business side of things…

Anyway, it just wasn’t there so it got put on the back burner. Susan and I kept talking every six months or so. I was keeping her in the loop. And while I continued doing magazine assignments I had some sort of book in the back of my mind so I kind of shot differently from then on. I didn’t know exactly what I was working toward but I knew there was something there.

So you’ve been working on this thing for a while?

You could say I’ve been working on the book since then [2009]. But specifically this last year, for sure. Maybe year and a half.

When you say you were shooting differently, what changed?

I started shooting a lot more of the general scene. People hanging out, what’s going on other than just the trick. So like, I started caring about other stuff. The kids we met, how we were traveling along, people grabbing at a board to try it out. Before I would just go home and put the camera down once the trick was landed. Early on all I cared about was the tricks.

Eventually I kind of got interested in the culture and lifestyle that happened with everything else. And as it turns out that has its own appeal to the general audience.

For someone not familiar with skating, that culture and those lifestyle shots are pretty interesting.

Most people who don’t skate could care less about the tricks (laughing).

A lot of the work in the book does have a different aesthetic than your typical skateboard mag or a video.

Most of the shots in the book were taken between 2008 and now. That’s really when I kind of had that stylistic change. There are one or two shots from 03′, maybe 04′ — but 2008 was when that conscious shift kind of happened. Maybe I just found my groove at that point. It’s hard to describe exactly what the shift was but it stuck.

In the last five or six years skating has been legitimized. Your book showcases how skateboarding is a global thing now and not just an America thing…

or California thing

Exactly, your book is a big part of that. Skating isn’t necessarily the counter-culture sport that it used to be. It’s becoming globally acceptable.

I guess the book was written in a way I think that skaters will enjoy. But people who don’t know about skating or might think one way about it — I hope that after they read it they’ll come away with a different perspective. If it’s their first introduction, if people think they know about skating, I hope this book shows them there’s more to it.

How did Levi’s get involved?

I was really pushing and Nat Geo was already on board except they needed me to find a sponsor. No one on the photo side was staff for them, so no retainers were involved. That being the case, they asked that I find someone to supplement the cost… that came up a few years ago.

Were you freaking out at that point? Nat Geo was on board, which is huge but you need to front the bill if you couldn’t find a sponsor.

I reached out to a few companies and didn’t really get any response at all. I was kind of playing the waiting game. Then Levi’s came up and I thought, “they don’t have a team, they’re building their skate program, this could be perfect.”

They wanted to promote skating but with no team they were just out to promote skating in general, it was a great fit.

I thought that was an interesting pairing.

Yeah, they’re kind of taking this philanthropic angle and guys don’t really know what to make of it (laughing). Guys that have been in the industry forever and are used to doing things their way are like, “Huh?” but people are accepting them now.

Anyway, I had a chance run in with them [Levi’s]. They hired me to do a shoot in Le Paz, Bolivia, that was in the Spring of 2014 for a skatepark project they were doing. I brought up the book and they hopped on board as my sponsor.

This being a photo book with your name on it, you welcomed whoever to join in. That’s rad.

Well it wasn’t whoever. There was a method to the madness. We decided early on that this wasn’t going to be my story per se. It was more about the culture of skating overall and so I soon realized we’re going to need to pull in other people [photographers]. I’ve never been to Skatistan, I’ve barely been to Africa, and certain skaters needed to be in there — like Danny Way and Andrew Reynolds, for example — who I’ve never shot really. I had 70% of the content and as long as I had over 60% I get my name on the cover.

How did you get Tony Hawk on board for the foreword? 

I haven’t met Tony but we have a bunch of mutual friends and I emailed one of them asking about him doing the foreword and they pushed it along… he said “yes.”

I don’t want to say this all fell into place…but it seems like it all fell into place.

It just happened man, it’s crazy. It was a long road, for sure. But right place, right time happened more than once. What is it? The law of attraction, right? They say, “If you keep a goal in the back of your mind long enough eventually it’ll come to fruition.”

When’d you start shooting photos?

Pretty much when I picked up a camera in high school. I did the whole college art school thing after that, but I was always shooting skating for fun. Probably halfway through college I kind of had it down and I thought I might be good enough to get into a magazine so I started sending some of them prints. For six months I didn’t get a response or any feedback at all, really. I was going for it man, sending at least a photo a week. I was sending originals man, fuck it. It was like no holds barred. Then after six months one of them hit me up and was like, “Hey man, your stuff’s looking better” and I was like “Holy shit, they actually called me!” Shortly thereafter one of the magazines did run a couple photos.

They say it’s who you know and whatever but I didn’t know anyone, dude.

For the photo industry at large that’s unheard of, right?

Seriously, no affiliation or connections. Nothing. I was lucky in that regard. At the time I thought that’s how it was done. I now know that’s not always the case (laughing). Not that that never happens but…

What’s in store next for you?

I’m not ready to drop another book or anything but I’m definitely gonna keep shooting skating and moving forward.

How’s it feel seeing your name on the shelves in Barnes & Noble

Dude…I can’t tell you how weird it is. So, to me it’s a photo book. I went in there and cruised the photo book section and couldn’t find it. So I was like, “ahh fuck, maybe they don’t have it.” But I had heard from Nat Geo that Barnes & Noble would have it, so I went up to the information desk and was like, “Hey, do you have a book by Jonathan Mehring.” That was the weirdest shit I’ve ever said, I think.

They’re like “Oh yeah, it’s in sports,” Of course it’s in sports. I was kind of bummed on that but whatever. Skating is called a sport now but I don’t really consider it one. Anyway, I went to the sports section and found it. It was in sports but the sub-section was “Outdoor Sports and Survival.” which is where I think it should be if it has to be in sports.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch is Trying to Ruin Cereal With the Selfie Spoon

Enjoy cereal? Enjoy the thought of other people looking at photos of you eating cereal? Well, if you answered “yes” to both of those questions, Cinnamon Toast Crunch has the perfect device to meet your demented needs: the selfie spoon.

The selfie spoon combines all the function of a spoon with the stupidity that is slowly chipping away at humanity of the selfie stick. The selfie spoon extends up to 30 inches and connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth, so you can snap a selfie of you slurping up cereal like a 5-year old.

I should point out that the spoon is free — probably because General Mills knows that nobody would actually pay money for such a stupid gimmick.

Considering that more people have died this year from selfie accidents than shark attacks, it might be a good idea leave selfies out of breakfast. The last thing you want is to slip and impale yourself with a 30-inch spoon.

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Reports Show That Selfies Have Killed More People Than Sharks This Year

According to media reports, at least 12 people have been killed in selfie-related incidents so far in 2015 and many more injured, while only eight have died as a result of shark attacks.

The latest selfie-related death was of a 66-year-old Japanese tourist, who reportedly suffered a heart attack while posing with a selfie stick at the Taj Mahal in India last week. Other deaths have been caused by distracted photo-takers falling off cliffs,crashing their cars, being hit by trains, and even shooting themselves while posing with guns.

In fact, the selfie craze has proven so dangerous that officials in Australia had to fence off a 16-storey high rock that looks like a wedding cake because people wouldn’t stop taking photos on it, despite fears it could collapse at any time.

Russia has also experienced its share of accidents: two men in the Urals were killed while taking a selfie of themselves holding a hand grenade with the pin pulled out (the photo survived as proof), and a teenager died in May while climbing onto a railway bridge to take a photo.

The incidents have caused the Russian government to launch a campaign to warn people about the dangers of selfies, which included the following poster:


So what is it that makes selfie-takers so likely to put themselves in danger? Research published by Ohio State University last year found that men who post a lot of selfies score higher in traits of narcissism and psychopathy in online tests. While all the participants were still in the healthy range, this suggests that they may be more inclined to focus on personal gain in situations, rather than potential danger.

“It’s all about me. It’s putting me in the frame. I’m getting attention and when I post that to social media, I’m getting the confirmation that I need from other people that I’m awesome,” lead researcher Jesse Fox told Reuters. “You don’t care about the tourist attraction you’re destroying; you don’t care about annoying people in your social media feed … you’re not even thinking about the consequences of your actions, so who cares if you’re dangling off the side of the Eiffel Tower?”

And, yes, we know this news isn’t strictly science. But it’s an important and timely reminder that sharks aren’t the murderous beasts that the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week has made them out to be.

So how do the shark attack numbers stack up? According to the Global Shark Attack File, there have been 74 unprovoked shark attacks this year. Only eight incidents have resulted in death.

We’re not suggesting that people don’t need to be careful and aware of shark attack risks when entering the water. But not only does the likelihood of being killed by a shark pale in comparison to the deadliness of selfies, it’s also a lot lower than the number of deaths caused by dog attacks and home renovations. In fact, pretty mucheverything you do today (particularly if it involves a car) is more likely to kill you than a shark.

Of course, it’s hard not to be afraid of giant fish with teeth, but we need to keep the facts in mind so that we can make rational decisions about things like shark culls, which have no scientific backing.

Instead, maybe we should try to put a ban on the phrase “pics or it didn’t happen“. Because, statistically speaking, that sh*t is way more dangerous than a great white.

Portraits of Disabled Animals Highlight the Beauty of Their Imperfections

Photographer Alex Cearns can see the beauty in all different types of animals and reveals this in her Perfect Imperfection series. Cearns has focused her lens on creatures who’ve faced various obstacles in their lives due to their physical disabilities. This includes birds with missing eyes, three-legged dogs, and cats who are completely blind. “One of my most passionate aims as an animal photographer is to capture the adorable subtleties that make all creatures precious and unique,” the artist told Bored Panda. “I love every animal I have the privilege of photographing, but those perceived as ‘different’ hold a special place in my heart.”

While these animals are physically impaired, that doesn’t make them any less beautiful. They are examples of strength and demonstrate that perseverance can conquer any challenge. Cearns realizes this and that’s what makes her images as impactful as they are. “Most animals with ‘afflictions’ don’t dwell on them,” the thoughtful photographer explains. “They adapt to their bodies without complaint and they survive with determination. They push on, always, wanting to be included and involved in everything as much as they can, and as much as an able bodied pet does.” The artist’s images aren’t only visually stunning, they also serve as inspiration for anyone who’s in the midst of a difficult situation.



Ink-stagram: How Instagram Has Made Tattoo Art the New Street Style

What comes to mind when you think of tattoos? For me, it’s a sub-street-level tattoo parlor; neon lights buzzing and a feeling of comfortable uncleanliness. Dust, grime and cluttered collectibles adorn artists work spaces that remain simultaneously sterile… almost doctoral, with the kind of pristine attention to detail that adjoins a decision of permanent ink.

But in the age of Instagram, the tattoo industry is undergoing a revolution. No longer fringe fashion, #tattoos have become the plaything of celebrities, and body art influencers alike. The art from that was once confined to the backroom of a brick and mortar has become a trending topic some 25 million posts strong.

Many current tattoo artists grew up during a time when alternative forms of media, albeit relatively underground, first began to explore and propagate body artwork. “Being someone who grew up making art in an era of riot grrrl zines, it makes sense to engage in a medium that reaches further than the walls of the gallery or local tattoo studio,” says Emily North, a Brooklyn tattoo artist, curator, and social activist with over 10.5k Instagram followers.
Arguably, Instagram has become the modern day digital “zine.” With its simple platform, broad reach, and focus on relevant news, culture, and art, the simple photo app has surpassed its origin as a form of photographic braggadocio. For tattoo artists, this means that their work isn’t confined to the walls of their parlor, the skin of their customers, or the affectionate attention of a local community. Instead, tattoo artists (and their parlors) have parlayed their preexisting relationships with the art community into social media followings that grow as Instagram users become more acclimated and interested in the body art industry. From the US to the UK, Brazil to the Pacific Islands, tattoo artists and their unique works of art are celebrated and shared across time zones and cultural boundaries

“Instagram has become the primary platform to promote myself and spread awareness of my work and a window into my lifestyle,” says Luke Wessman, world famous tattoo artist, designer, and influencer. “For artists, Instagram currently is the most visible way to promote work both locally and globally and, in my opinion, has unmatched reach.” And as a result of its reach, the platform “has helped more people in remote places become tattoo fans, encouraged young people to seek out apprenticeships, and has built trends in the style of tattoo work that is popular,” says North.

But alongside the growing popularity of tattoos on social platforms, there’s a growing sentiment that the art is losing some of its unique, underground and edgy ethos. “More purist tattoo artists aren’t happy that body art has blown up,” North explains, “but I think it’s a great thing. Because tattooing is being shared outside the shop, it’s becoming accessible and familiar to a larger clientele.”

The propagation of body art by social media profiles hasn’t only increased awareness and interest, but also demonstrated the diversity of styles and abilities within the realm. Body art and tattoo artists and models not only can promote themselves and their own work, but also witness and learn from others’ profiles.

At the same time, the exposure and accessibility of body art work on a global scale presents unique challenges to both up and coming artists as well as those already established.”There are people pushing the envelope,” says Wessman, “the right tattoo posted at the right time by the right person could totally go viral…” He continues, “Having exposure to so many artists and art forms it’s hard not to be influenced; but in a way, with so much diversity at our fingertips, it’s becoming more and more difficult to have an original point of view and pressure as an artist is higher now then ever.”

But for artists whose work catches the eye of high-profile celebrities and models, that pressure can lead to professional relationships that helps them grow their personal brand. Wessman, who has worked with numerous celebrities including Jhene Aiko, Dave Navarro, Matt Dillon, and Stalley agrees. “

Working with a celebrity always impacts exposure. Our generation is so fame driven and hungry, when people see you work on or hang with “famous people”, it excites, for sure.” He continues, “I’ve known unknown and unskilled artists out there that after tattooing one celebrity, they become overnight sensations. Though, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that my relationships with some influential people have helped me incrementally grow my brand.”

For Carlos Costa, a UK based model whose stylized beard and tattoo look has attracted over 130k followers on Instagram, social media has not only helped inform his own personal body art choices, but also allowed him to share his favorite artists and tattoo shops with his followers.“I know artists will gain a lot of followers when I share pictures of their work, and it works both ways. It’s normal isn’t it, you go to someone who’s a good artist, you like to get their art and there’s a mutual idea of “Yeah lets share the word.”

Costa not only refers his followers to specific artists depending on their taste, but he’s used Instagram to inspire his own tattoos. “I found the guys Volko and Simone from Buena Vista Club in Germany through social media. They do trash polka and realistic trash polka, which is what I’ve got on my right arm,” he said.

Costa isn’t the only one who is being inspired. Young people across the world are being exposed to body art with every swipe, making a once niche form of expressionist art mainstream. Perhaps its newfound popularity will take away from the occultist ethos of the body art industry. But one thing is clear: Digital innovation has spurred a changing tide, a tide where freedom of expression and the deconstruction of body-image expectations are the rule rather than the exception.

DxO ONE Takes DSLR-Quality Photos on Your iPhone

It seems like it won’t be long before technology is capable of turning all of our electronics into iPhone add-ons. The latest to be announced is the DxO ONE, which takes DSLR-quality photos on your iPhone or iPad. At just under 7 cm tall, and 108g light, the camera is small enough to fit into your pocket, and attaches to your iPhone or iPad via the lightning connector, turning the display into the camera’s viewfinder. Despite its size, the camera is capable of taking crystal clear images thanks to the f/1.8, 32mm equivalent aspherical lens, and comes with an iOS app which allows you to control the individual settings including aperture, shutter speed and ISO.

In the U.S., the DxO one can be pre-ordered now direct from the DxO website.