selfies

Robert Cornelius produced one of the first photographs of a selfies

A selfie is a type of self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a hand-held digital camera or camera phone. Selfies are often associated with social networking, like Instagram. They are often casual, are typically taken either with a camera held at arm’s length or in a mirror, and typically include either only the photographer or the photographer and as many people as can be in focus. The word is so popular there is a song about the famous word called #SELFIE. Selfies taken that involve multiple people are known as “group selfies” or “ussies”. In August 2013 the Guardian produced a film series titled Thinkfluencer exploring selfie exposure in the UK.

History

Robert Cornelius, an American pioneer in photography, produced a daguerreotype of himself in 1839 which is also one of the first photographs of a person. Because the process was slow he was able to uncover the lens, run into shot for a minute or more, and then replace the lens cap. He recorded on the back “The first light Picture ever taken. 1839.

The debut of the portable Kodak Brownie box camera in 1900 led to photographic self-portraiture becoming a more widespread technique. The method was usually by mirror and stabilizing the camera either on a nearby object or on a tripod while framing via a viewfinder at the top of the box. Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna at the age of 13 was one of the first teenagers to take her own picture using a mirror to send to a friend in 1914. In the letter that accompanied the photograph, she wrote, “I took this picture of myself looking at the mirror. It was very hard as my hands were trembling.”

The concept of uploading group self-taken photographs (now known as super selfies) to the internet, although with a disposable camera not a smartphone, dates to a webpage created by Australians in September 2001, including photos taken in the late 1990s (captured by the Internet Archive in April 2004). The earliest usage of the word selfie can be traced as far back as 2002. It first appeared in an Australian internet forum (ABC Online) on 13 September 2002.

Um, drunk at a mates 21st, I tripped ofer [sic] and landed lip first (with front teeth coming a very close second) on a set of steps. I had a hole about 1cm long right through my bottom lip. And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.