Thing-a-day 27: The First Selfie

Is a selfie simply a self-portrait? Many say no, that a selfie is explicitly taken while holding the camera. So while at least one very early photographer experimented with himself as a subject, the first true selfie is these guys:

Here’s how they did it:

Snapped in New York on the roof of the Marceau Studio on Fifth Avenue, across the street from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, this picture features five mustached photographers holding an antediluvian analog camera at arm’s length. Because this camera would have been too heavy to hold with one hand, Joseph Byron is propping it up on the left, with his colleague Ben Falk holding it on the right. In the middle, you have Pirie MacDonald, Colonel Marceau, and Pop Core.

What’s interesting here is that these five gentlemen were the photographers of the Byron Company, a photography studio founded in Manhattan in 1892, which was described by the New York Times as “one of New York’s pre-eminent commercial photography studios.”
From This Might Be The First Selfie In Photographic History: Mustached New Yorkers, Not Teenage Girls, Were the Creators of the Arm’s-Length Selfie.

So basically the first selfie was literally marketing. Now, of course, it is in true 21st Century fashion all about Brand You.

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