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From Rio de Janeiro to Rome, a battle for selfie supremacy

China Daily | Updated: 2019-06-28 09:06

Tourists take selfies by the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro on June 13. CARL DE SOUZA/AFP

RIO DE JANEIRO - Under the immense Christ the Redeemer statue that overlooks Rio de Janeiro and its picturesque Guanabara Bay, dozens of tourists jockey for position to get selfies with the stunning panoramic view illuminated by the setting sun.

A tangle of arms and selfie sticks are lifted for solo shots, couple snaps, family photos: Getting the perfect picture with the statue or Sugarloaf Mountain in the background is the goal.

The only definite fail? Ending up with other tourists taking selfies in the frame.

Brazil is a selfie-mad country. But it is hardly alone.

Around the globe, selfie culture has become a facet of daily life. Social media sites are flooded with pictures and tourist attractions are overrun with those seeking selfie nirvana.

In some cases, that quest for the ideal happy snap has been deadly, when amateur photographers take the hobby too far. For celebrities, it can be a moneymaker.

But for the average tourist, it's a way to make memories.

Philippe, a young French engineer on holiday in Brazil with Christ-like long hair, positions himself in front of the imposing Christ the Redeemer statue, an Art Deco work made of reinforced concrete and soapstone.

"My colleagues laughed, saying I look like Jesus. So I needed to take a selfie to send them," he said.

But he isn't all in on the idea.

"On social media, it can give a false impression. People only post pictures of beautiful things - the sun, Rio, the beach," he said. "People end up getting depressed because they have the idea that their life is crappy."

'A happy moment'

For Brazilian Daniela Lemes, taking selfies is "a happy moment, shared with family (...) in marvelous places like this one".

On the other side of Rio, at the waterfront Museum of Tomorrow, aesthetician Tatiana da Silva de Paula admits she takes 100 to 200 selfies a day.

"First I take some to see how I look. Then I post them on social media for my friends and family," she said.

About 9,000 kilometers away, in the heart of Rome, the Trevi Fountain is the must-have selfie spot.

Sarah and Fivos, a British couple from Manchester who came to the Eternal City to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary, were part of the selfie scrum.

"We are happy with the selfie we took, but with so many people, you have to wait for the right moment to get the good shot with no people in the frame," said Fivos.

Nearby, Elia and Chiara, two young Italians, took a selfie with their parents in the background ...taking a selfie.

On this day, as on most days, there is such a huge crowd at the fountain, immortalized by Fellini in the movie La Dolce Vita, that tensions can mount.

In August last year, police had to separate two groups of tourists who had come to blows when they wanted to take a selfie at the same spot.

In Athens, even celebrities join the millions of tourists seeking romantic mementos. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg showed up at the Acropolis with his wife in May, after music legend Paul McCartney did the same.

Agence France-Presse

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