1839: The first selfie in the world


In October of 1839, the Dutch-born chemist Robert Cornelius made Photo Self-Portrait (1839) while standing in the yard behind his family's Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, lamp store (Eckel, Ruchatz, and Wirth 2018). Setting up his camera at the back of the family store in Philadelphia, Cornelius took the image by removing the lens cap and then running into the frame where he sat for a minute before covering up the lens again. On the back of the image, he wrote, "The first light Picture was ever taken. 1839." (The Public Domain Review 2013). The photograph he took was regarded as the first "selfie in the world.

Eckel, Julia, Jens Ruchatz, and Sabine Wirth. 2018. Exploring the Selfie: Historical, Theoretical, and Analytical Approaches to Digital Self-Photography. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

The Public Domain Review. 2013. “Robert Cornelius’ Self-Portrait: The First-Ever ‘Selfie’ (1839).” The Public Domain Review. November 19, 2013. https://publicdomainreview.org/collection/robert-cornelius-self-portrait-the-first-ever-selfie-1839.

Image source: https://publicdomainreview.org/collection/robert-cornelius-self-portrait-the-first-ever-selfie-1839