It’s easy to bemoan millennials for bringing selfies to the mainstream, but our tendencies towards narcissism and documenting ourselves through selfies date back hundreds of years.
The first selfies were taken when humans didn’t even have cameras. Self-portraits are considered a form of proto-selfies because they were the only way to showcase how we adored our lovely faces. Of course, there weren’t filters available and only artists had the ability to enjoy a good self-portrait, but the world changed once self-portraits became popular.
Fast forward a few hundred years. By the 20th century, cameras were available to the masses, which means the average person could document pretty much anything they wanted. But the technology of the 1900s didn’t exactly enable self-obsession. Cameras were too heavy to take a photo of yourself on the go unless you had a tripod ready (or an advanced camera lens).
The advent of the webcam made it easier to put our whole faces into the frame without issue, but really, who wants a low-pixel image unless you’re playing old-school video games? With the arrival of front-facing cameras, fancy smartphones and social media galore, the tools are in our favor and we can take as many selfies as we want. Believe me, Van Gogh would be jealous.3.6k