Everyone takes selfies in 2018. Gone are the days of asking a stranger to take a photo of you while you’re vacationing. While selfies are a 21st-century trend, you might be surprised to learn the first selfie was actually taken in 1839. Let’s thank Robert Cornelius for this invention.

Who’s Robert Cornelius?

You might not know who Robert Cornelius is, but you have a lot to thank him for in technology. In the 1800s, he was an early pioneer of photography, a lamp manufacturer, and a chemist. He was a jack-of-all-trades, and he never stopped pursuing projects and ideas until he passed away in 1893.

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Cornelius took the first-ever selfie known to man. His image is now one of the most recognizable self-portraits ever to be taken.

Just a simple experimentation

Cornelius loved to experiment with his equipment. In 1839, he decided to work with his photography cameras while alone in his family store in Philadelphia. He knew he didn’t have much time alone, so he took this opportunity. Little did he know, he was creating a part of history.

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Cornelius removed the lens cap from the camera. He ran to stand in front of the camera, positioning himself into the frame and rested in that motionless posture for about 10–15 minutes. He finally ran back to the camera and covered up the lens once more.

On the back of the image, he wrote, “The first light picture ever taken. 1839.”

A part of history

Cornelius not only took a photo of himself, but also the first self-portrait of a human to be recorded. His portrait is now one of the most recognizable portraits to exist in the world of photography.

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The next time you take a selfie, think about how far technology has come. At least you don’t have to wait 15 minutes to take a photo today. Ain’t nobody got time for that.