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The First Ever “Selfie”

The word "selfie" may be a 21st-century invention, but self-portraits go back to the beginning of photography. Metal plater and amateur chemist Robert Cornelius was mentioned in The Wonderful World of Early Photography as the one who took the first human photographic portrait in 1839 using the new daguerreotype method -and it was a portrait of himself.

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 in to 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.”

Advances in photography that led to shorter exposure times made this simple method of taking a selfie pretty much impossible until the development of the timer.  -via Open Culture


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If you're interested, there's quite a controversy as to whether Niepcé or Henry Fox Talbot was the first to create a photograph. After Niepcé announced his invention, Talbot revealed a process which he claimed to have developed in 1834. He had no real evidence to back up his claim, however, so it is generally regarded as unproven. He is, however, acknowledged as the creator of the photographic negative.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Fox_Talbot
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I understand, and I appreciate the care you obviously take with the composition of your posts. It wasn't so much the 'portrait' issue I was addressing as the photographer's own notion that it was the first photograph, or "light picture". Maybe it was the first HE claimed to know about; but then, where would he have gotten the technology? Or perhaps he meant HIS first light picture. One thing is certain: We'll never know for sure! Thanks for the clarification.
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That's why I said first "portrait" and referred to the earlier post on photography. We posted about the Daguerre picture, too, but I can't find it in the archives.
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While this image could certainly be considered the first selfie (*gag*), it is not the first picture of a human being and certainly not the first "light picture". That honour belongs to Nicéphore Niepcé, with his "View from the window at Le Gras".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/View_from_the_Window_at_Le_Gras
The first known photograph of a person is from 1838, by Joseph-Louis Daguerre. It is of the Boulevard du Temple in Paris, and shows a street scene devoid of people except for an unknown gentleman standing and having his shoes shined. He was the only one in the scene standing still long enough to be captured by the nearly 10-minute exposure.
http://petapixel.com/2010/10/27/first-ever-photograph-of-a-human-being/
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