First Selfie

We all take selfies these days.  The camera phone unleashed selfies in a way that cameras never could before – but did you ever ask who took the first selfie?

A man named Robert Cornelius took the first selfie in 1839 while trying to find a way to improve the daguerreotype process.  Not familiar with daguerreotypes?  Ever seen a picture from the Civil War era?  Kind of sepia toned and everyone was very stiff looking?  Those are daguerreotypes.  The process wasn’t easy for either the photographer or his subjects given the use of silver plated copper sheets and mercury vapor to catch an image.  Our man Robert took this picture of himself – the first selfie – while experimenting with changes to the process:


I’m not sure that would be a keeper today!  Robert himself opened a couple of photography studios but didn’t stick with it.  Eventually he opted to join the family gas and lighting business and left the perfection of photography processes to other people.

But the next time you take a selfie – think of Robert and smile!