The Evolution of the Selfie

It’s hard nowadays to be out somewhere and not find someone ready to take a selfie. They’re such a popular way of taking a photo that in 2013 the word ‘selfie’ was added into the Oxford English Dictionary. What’s more, the market has even responded to the popularity of the selfie with inventions such as the ‘selfie stick’; aiding this fad. You can’t deny, the evolution of the selfie is incredible. Whether this trend is here to stay is hard to say for sure; but what is certain is that in some form, or other, the selfie will be here for a little while longer.

The History

What you may be unaware of is that the selfie actually existed before the modern digital age, and can even be traced back to as far as the 1600s. Arguably, artists who had a keen passion for self-portraits (like Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo) took a form of selfie; albeit in a more artistic way.

If we talk in terms of actual camera technology, however, the evolution of the selfie can be dated back to 1839 with Robert Cornelius. Robert took his selfies uniquely. He removed his camera lens cap, ran into frame and sat down for a long while; before putting the lens cap back on the camera. This is a far cry from the ease that we have today. The selfie is no longer something that is exclusive to artists or the more well-off individuals; everyone, nowadays, has access to snap and can share a picture anytime, anywhere.

Social Media

The other modern wonder, social media, has also impacted on the evolution of the selfie. Social media provides a much-needed platform – it helps to establish a culture where we take images anywhere, any time, and not just at special events. When you search #selfie on Instagram, you’ll find over 294 million results and this figure is growing daily.

There is more to the evolution of the selfie than just your daily documentation, though. In more recent times; the selfie has been used to achieve and help causes, through the power of social media platforms. For instance, the #nomakeupselfie, which was a very popular trend in 2014. What’s more important is that it was able to help to raise over £8m for Cancer Research UK. This wasn’t even an intentional campaign, it is great evidence of how powerful a simple selfie can be.

Another point of interest in the evolution of the selfie, is the filters which you can apply. Platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat allow you to edit and use lots of different filters in order to enhance an image or add a creative and funny facet to it.

Selfies have become a huge part of our modern digital age, and they influence our culture too; the way we enjoy and celebrate a special occasion or even an everyday situation has undergone a dramatic change. People have more of a want to capture a moment, and selfies have even gone as far as the creation of niche jobs. The selfie has evolved quite drastically over time, and it’ll be interesting to see how much further it will grow.

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