Introducing the Large Format Selfie Stick

Curators’ Corner

Introducing the Large Format Selfie Stick

The selfie is the most polarizing of portraits. On one end, you have a generation with an unremitting sense of self–which is great in a lot of ways. On the flip side, the selfie is synonymous with self-absorption, or to a further extreme, self-obsession. The crazy thing is, it’s nearly impossible to stay completely on either side of the line. Selfies have become an unavoidable part of our everyday lives.

Equally divisive is the selfie stick, the odd-looking, pole-like contraption that enables us to take better, more angularly pleasing pictures of ourselves. Many consider the selfie stick to be the evil, ultra-annoying spawn of the selfie. And yet it was America’s hottest Christmas gift in 2014.

Regardless of where you stand on selfies and selfie sticks, you might as well embrace them, because they’re not going away anytime soon. With that, here’s a cool invention by photographer Jesse Chehak: the large format selfie stick (or LFSS).

Chehak created an enormous selfie stick for his classic Graflex 4×5 press camera using an 8-foot-long pole. The device uses a shutter release cord to expose a sheet of old-school Polaroid Type 55 film, which was discontinued in 2008 and will run you a couple hundred dollars per box these days.

As Chehak was ideating, he posted early sketches of the LFFS on Snapchat.

“I’ve seen enough lively and playful ideas sketched out in his studio that it somehow didn’t occur to me that Chehak would go to the trouble of actually fabricating the thing, and, anyway, it existed provocatively enough just as an idea and a sketch,” wrote Kate Palmer Albers, a Boston University photography history and theory professor.

Soon after, Chehak began posting pictures of a real-life LFSS on Instagram.

The LFFS is pretty awesome not just as a novelty, but also as a functional solution for taking self-portraits with a large format camera. Check out a few images of the LFFS below, and visit Chehak’s website to see more of his work.