#selfie … smile! 😀
From astronauts in space to Ellen Degeneres’ famous photo at the 2014 Oscars, it seems as though everyone is on the selfie wagon. Scroll through Instagram or Facebook and you will get a timeline filled with #me and #selfie — arm-length selfies in bed, mirror portraits and group selfies are everywhere we look. But just where and when did this trend begin?
It’s rumoured that the first-ever selfie was taken way back in 1839, by camera pioneer Robert Cornelius, but we can’t prove that; he may have had an assistant to help. The first cameras which incorporated delay timers were available from the 1880s, giving the photographer between five and ten seconds to adopt the right pose for their self-portrait. Around this time, cameras with a long cable release were also on the market — this allowed the taking of a photograph from a distance dictated by the length of the cable.
Vintage selfie, anyone?
Moving forward in time — the humble photo booth dates back to 1880, and is a selfie of sorts, although not in the more contemporary sense. What about Polaroids? The first instant camera was on the market in the 1970s — a handheld camera that could be held at arms’ length, although with no preview screen, you might have to take a few shots before truly perfecting the pout.
Move on to 2003, when Sony invented a phone with a front-facing camera. It was actually intended to be used for business video calls, but we didn’t let that stop us, although the 0.3mp camera offered a pretty low-quality image. Thank you though, Sony, for this accidental innovation. And here’s proof of the selfie’s rise in popularity — collectively, Android users alone take 93 million selfies a day and seasoned selfie takers shoot, on average, 450 a year. A scroll through the #selfie hashtag on Instagram is proof enough that what Robert Cornelius may or may not have started is not going away any time soon.
The selfie is here to stay.