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You've seen the shots: The handsome actor, nasal-gazing into the smartphone camera, his head often reclining on a pillow, his gaze typically of the Blue Steel variety.

The subject and shooter of these portraits, James Franco, is now acknowledging that yes, he might very well be "the selfie king."

"Maybe this is so," he writes in a self-examination of the selfie in The New York Times. But there's method to his mug mania. The celebrity selfie "provides something very powerful, from the most privileged perspective possible": attention.

"It has value regardless of the photo's quality, because it is ostensibly an intimate shot of someone whom the public is curious about. It is the prize shot that the paparazzi would kill for, because they would make good money; it is the shot that the magazines and blogs want, because it will get the readers close to the subject."

It's a manufactured, "pseudo-personal" captured moment, writes Franco, who explains why and how the star selfie sausage gets made.

"I've found that Instagram works much like the movie business: You're safe if you trade 'one for them' with 'one for yourself,' meaning for every photo of a book, painting or poem, I try to post a selfie with a puppy, a topless selfie or a selfie withSeth Rogen, because these are all things that are generally liked."