1839-The First Selfie…Ever!

Robert Cornelius Selfie

  Robert Cornelius’ Self-Portrait: The First Ever “Selfie” (1839)

Today, the Oxford Dictionaries announced their word of the year for 2013 to be “selfie”, which they define as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.” Although the rampant proliferation of the technique is quite recent, the “selfie” itself is far from being a strictly modern phenomenon. Indeed, the photographic self-portrait is surprisingly common in the very early days of photography exploration and invention, when it was often more convenient for the experimenting photographer to act as model as well. In fact, the picture considered by many to be the first photographic portrait ever taken was a “selfie”. The image in question was taken in 1839 by an amateur chemist and photography enthusiast from Philadelphia named Robert Cornelius. Cornelius had set his camera up at the back of the family store in Philadelphia. He took the image by removing the lens cap and then running into frame where he sat for a minute before covering up the lens again. On the back he wrote “The first light Picture ever taken. 1839.”

I have performed  a lot of research about the first Selfies…and there a lot out there claiming to be the first.  This photo, from 1839, is the earliest I’ve found.  Please leave me a comment or share information with me and prove me wrong.

Yahoo estimates that 800 billion photos will be taken in 2014. Yup, you read that right…Billions!  These will be taken with the Selfie Sticks and Monopods.  We will use our iPhones, Android Smartphones, iPads, etc.  This is a fad that is not going away…at least not anytime soon!


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