First Selfie Photo in the World in 1839

The term selfie is quite common these days but it was first used in 2002, in an Australian forum. In 2003 the term “selfie” was the word of the year from Oxford Dictionaries.

More or less, dictionaries define “Selfie” as the photo someone shoots of himself. This usually happens via a smartphone or a web camera, and is uploaded to some social media website.

However, the term “selfie” was known in photography for decades. It was known as self-portrait. Many photographers were engaged into that difficult kind of photography, as a medium of artistic expression.

There are photographers who couldn’t resist to embed themselves in a photo, either by taking a photo of their shadow or a part of their body.

Which one was the first selfie ever taken in photography?

According to all evidence it was the self portrait of a pioneer in photography. That was Robert Cornelius and he took that photon in October 1839. That was the year were photography was invented.

Cornelious had pretty good experience in the silver plating of metals.

In that way he managed to develop much more sensitive daguerreotype plates, from the ones French developers manufactured.

This allowed him to take photos with low exposure timings.

More on Robert Cornelius can be seen here.

The selfie style of photography has become a very strong trend in these days, with people capturing photos in every possible angle and expression.

Technology and portability play a huge role in the easiness of being able to take such photos anywhere, anytime.


This article is a translation of a Greek one, originally written by Dimitris Asithianakis. Dimitris is a professional photographer and a teacher of photography as well, based in Athens, Greece.

Check more photography tips here. This section is gradually updated.

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