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A Selfie a Day Keeps the Doctor Away by Mike Mellia

The photographer's engaging new project that explores the current state of self-portraiture

by James Thorne in Culture on 23 July 2014

Art, Instagram, Mike Mellia, Photography, Self Portraits, Selfies, Social Media

The selfie can convey just about anything. Commonly now seen in the form of the "duck face," or the boastful vacation shot—it's not who we are, but how we'd like to be perceived. In that respect, the selfie apes the best of classical European portraiture. From King Henry VIII's exaggerated calves to Denise from Ohio's flattering Tinder angles, the self-portrait was and still is (at best) a white lie.

Photographer Mike Mellia's series "A Selfie a Day Keeps the Doctor Away" is an Instagram project aimed at the heart of selfie culture. Mellia shoots himself adorned in turbans and cradling swaths of silk, unapologetically pensive. Images are captioned by wry quips that explain, elaborate or perplex. (A distinctly Marxist pose reads: "That one time I asked the workers of the world to unite.")

Mellia succeeds because he embraces the form at its most unselfconscious—each scene is overly contrived, and each caption channels a braggart's dry assurance of his own importance. At once self-serving and disinterested, the images are like vanities created specially for the bonfire.

For more of Mellia's work, see our earlier piece on his series "The American Dream." Follow the photographer's ongoing selfie project on Instagram at @mikemellia.

Images courtesy of Mike Mellia

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Unbreakable Sunglasses by Italia Independent

A playfully designed frame made of rubber to last forever

by Graham Hiemstra in Style on 23 July 2014

Eyewear Design, Italy, Material Innovation, Style, Sunglasses

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Ideal for those accident-prone amongst us, the I-Ultra sunglasses from Italia Independent are made entirely of rubber, save for the high-quality lenses of course. The malleable frames can be bent in essentially any direction without breaking, making them safe for stashing in your back pocket or tossing into a bag once the sun goes down.

The lightweight material—which Italia Independent claims to have never been used in eyewear before—lends the colorful frames a curious look, which is only further accentuated by mirrored lenses and an intentionally large size. ("The product is a radicalization of the concept of extra large eyewear," or so says the brand product copy.) In essence, they're playful by design, but potentially won't suit all face shapes. While we haven't gotten a hold of this particular pair just yet, past experience with the brand certainly builds confidence in its quality.

Find the unbreakable summer shades in 10 different colorways exclusively for $167 from Italia Independent.

Image courtesy of Italia Independent

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GIF-Making PHHHOTO Comes to iPhone

The motion-capturing photo booth gets even more social

by Josh Rubin in Tech on 23 July 2014

Photo Apps, Photo Booths, Photo Sharing, Photography, iOS Apps, Social Media

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For over a year now we've been loving PHHHOTO's moving image minimalist set up—even using it for our holiday party. Above and beyond most other portable photo booths out there, PHHHOTO employs an incredibly flattering light ring attached to an iPad, and an app that's as easy to use at the end of the night as it was in the beginning. The result is a highly shareable animated GIF from a five-second moment. Altogether, it's unpredictable fun that captures one-of-a-kind moments. While the device has been making the event and social scene rounds, today we're pleased to announce that PHHHOTO has launched an iPhone app. Not only does it aggregate any GIFs you may have appeared in (and shared) since its inception, it allows you to build GIFs all your own—with only your iPhone.

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As the experience shifts from a face-recognizing kiosk to an in-hand adventure, the range of creative options will change. The app is designed much the same way we've become familiar with social media. A home screen provides a feed, complete with your GIFs and those that you follow, a center camera button activates the GIF-maker, and a "You" category allows you to check up on your posts, parties, the friends you follow and even likes. Within the camera, users can set a self-timer, control the flash, overlay a grid for framing or flip between the front and back camera. All of the images are captured in sequence—there's no option to control the timing or order of them. We like this feature because it results in animations that offer a curious interpretation of what really happened. Once the PHHHOTO is made, there a final option to choose whether to apply a black and white filter.

According to the founding team of PHHHOTO and software company HYPERHYPER, "PHHHOTO got its start shooting instant, animated selfies of social people at big parties and events. At a certain point, we realized thousands of people were using PHHHOTO at the same time, in the same place, out in the real world. Our new app is the first step toward social features that can create spontaneous connections between all these people." And it has worked so far, allowing for the instantaneous capture of something memorable. "Camera hardware and software generally has two modes: shoot a picture or record a video," they continue. "PHHHOTO is somewhere in between." The team has collectively recognized that pictures look better when moving and no fuss was added to the production. Altogether, PHHHOTO makes it easy to create mesmerizing visuals out of the most ordinary scenes using just an iPhone, but what really matters is that it happens to be a lot of fun.

The iOS PHHHOTO app is available online for free.

GIFs by Josh Rubin

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