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BizReport : Advertising : December 03, 2015

Photographic research reveals London as home to the saddest selfies

Facial recognition software applied to Instagram images from cities around the world has revealed the city with the saddest selfies.

by Helen Leggatt

According to a new project by Somerset House for its Big Bang Data exhibition, the city in which the saddest selfies are taken is London.

Facial recognition software analyzed and compared selfies taken in six cities from across the globe - Moscow, Berlin, Bangkok, São Paulo, New York and London - and found that, despite being around average for other selfie stats such as keeping the mouth shut, the number of selfies taken in London categorized as 'not happy' was significantly higher than elsewhere.

The analysis was based on 152,462 Instagram images selected from a 5km radius around Somerset House over the course of a week in September 2015 of which 640 were selected as self-portraits, or 'selfies'. These images were then turned into "rich interactive media visualizations" and compared to other cities.

So, why the long faces? According to Dr. Lev Manovich, a Professor at City University of New York and one of the co-creators of selfiecity, "Young Londoners face challenges such as rising property prices and highly competitive job markets" adding that "these are also issues felt in other cities around the world, so it's interesting to see that Londoners are more honest and they're not painting an alternate perfect picture on social media, which can often be the case."

Other selfie stats for London include:

- The average age of male selfie-takers is 28 - almost two years older than the average in other cities;

- London selfies had the highest number of glasses (29% vs. 18% in other cities) and also the highest number of eyes closed (28% vs. 20% in other cities);

- Only one quarter of photos taken in London are selfies.

The Big Bang Data exhibition at Somerset House, London, showcases artists' interpretations of the data explosion that is changing daily lives and runs until 28 February 2016.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: mobile, photography, trends

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