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The Evolution of a Selfie

Updated on December 25, 2015

The selfie may seem like a rather new idea with the emergence of modern cameras on cell phones, however this concept really goes back 175 years. Yes that's correct the true origins of the selfie goes all the way back to 1839. The selfie actually predates the thumbs up, the high five, and the current rave of fist bumping. Before we go to the evolution of the selfie, lets look into just what a selfie actually is all about.

A selfie is simply a picture taken of yourself that you plan on uploading to a social networking website like Facebook. You can sometimes see the person's arm holding out the cell phone camera while taking the shot. Often people try getting something special in the back ground like these two beautiful young women above were doing at California's Yosemite National Park. It really tickled them when I said that I'm taking a picture a people taking selfies of themselves.

A selfie is a strange phenomenon in which the photographer is the subject of the photograph often taken from a high angle held at arm's length, and is also considered by some to be a ridiculous practice of narcissism. Other options associated with selfies are the use of mirrors, which are rather common. Bathrooms have become a popular location for selfies in the world today, but aren't any competition with the beautiful young ladies outdoor selfies above.

The evolution of the selfie first began 175 years ago back in the year 1839 with the very first known selfie being taken by Mr. Robert Cornelius. This was also one of the first photographs of a person. Since the process was slow he was able to uncover the lens, run into shot for a minute, and then run back and replace the lens cap onto the camera. There have been many famous people who have taken their own selfies since this grand debut of the selfie in the early 1800's. This list includes a selfie of the Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia of herself, Buzz Aldrin's selfie in outer-space in 1966, a selfie of a macaque (a black ape) who just so happened to pick up a camera and snap a picture of himself, and also a selfie by the Curiosity rover on the planet of Mars in the year 2014.

Selfies are really on the rise and have gone viral since the day of these early selfies. In January 2014 during the Sochi Winter Olympics, athletes started a trend of taking selfies of themselves which was very popular. Today just about everyone is taking a selfie of themselves, and sending them to friends and family. Age is no limit for the selfie, and I've seen children as young as three years old pick up a cell phone camera, snap a selfie, and join in on this craze with everyone else in the world.

This is story behind today's popular selfie, which actually turns out to be nothing new in this world. The biggest difference is that the concept of uploading selfies onto the internet has brought this old idea to just about everyone's attention in the world who either has a computer, smart phone, or some other electronic device that can be used to pick up an internet connection, and that my dear friends is TheHoleStory on the good ole selfie.

Modern day selfies
Modern day selfies
Self portraits would certainly have been the very first form of a selfie.
Self portraits would certainly have been the very first form of a selfie.
4.8 out of 5 stars from 5 ratings of a Selfie

Have you ever taken a selfie?

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    • nicolas-ray profile image

      Nicolas Ray 

      4 years ago from Stamford, CT

      Great article and yes back in the day when doing the tourist bit and capturing images was done with film as opposed to today's digital, we took group selfies so as not to exclude anyone from the action shot. It's funny, if you used a tripod it was no longer called a selfie but a portrait. Have to admit that I have taken some digital selfies but tend to delete them,

    • Minoru10 profile image

      Michael Yoshinaka 

      4 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      Thank you for the warm welcome, coming from Squidoo. Keep up with the great work you're doing. I'll be seeing ya around. : D

      Gotta catch up with some work. PEACE !

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      5 years ago from USA

      My niece has been doing this most of her life, but I've yet to do it. Maybe one day, but for now .... I'm happy to watch everyone else.

    • profile image

      Lynn Klobuchar 

      5 years ago

      I have taken a few and I am not very adept at it. Thanks for the welcome and I look forward to learning a bit more from your other Hubs.

    • ZenandChic profile image


      5 years ago

      Sure, I have taken a selfie and my youngest daughter is constantly taking selfies... Love this article and thank you for the welcome!

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 

      5 years ago from Hawaii

      Love the straight-forward history lesson. Thumbs up!

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 

      5 years ago

      Enjoyed the read and it was an interesting point of view. Thank you for sharing.

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 

      5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      A really entertaining hub. Well researched and taken from a great angle. Well done.


    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      5 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very interesting hub. I came to know of it only 2, 3 months back from my son. I tried one or two shots but not so impressive. My son is having a two lens cell phone. It is very easy to take selfie without showing your camera and hands by using it. Very amazing technology. I voted five stars to you.

    • momsdoworkathome profile image

      Katina Davenport 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      Back when disposable cameras were popular, I used to take selfies before there was even such a word. My friends and I were doing this before Facebook or any social media. I have done many more sense then. My small children enjoy taking pictures of themselves. I can go to my phone and find selfies of them. They do it when I leave my cell phone around.

    • Imogen French profile image

      Imogen French 

      5 years ago from Southwest England

      I have taken the odd one, lol. I used to do them with the timer on my camera before, otherwise I would end up with lots of photos of everyone else and never any of me. We like to have a record of the places we go and the things we do.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Guilty! But maybe only once or twice. The process feels awkward to me.

    • dilipchandra12 profile image

      Dilip Chandra 

      5 years ago from India

      Selfies are now really amazing... A good hub and a good share.

    • Ann1Az2 profile image


      5 years ago from Orange, Texas

      Interesting - voted up. I wanted to read this just to find out what a selfie is. There is also a history of self portraits. Norman Rockwell painted himself. Just exactly how that was done, I don't know - maybe a selfie??

    • WillStarr profile image


      5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      True. Many older cameras were equipped with timers so the photographer could take a selfie or join a group shot.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      5 years ago from USA

      Very interesting history and to the point. Much enjoyed.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      5 years ago

      That was very interesting but I have never done it, and I doubt if I ever will.



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