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Friday, October 21, 2016

My 1976 Selfie



It was a hot summer day in 1976 that I took my first “selfie.” I was in a small dorm room located on a community college campus in East Texas. 

I was taking a summer photography class and had been lent a camera by the photography Instructor. It was a box with a mirror and I had to hold it steady and long to have the light come into it and the picture engraved on the negative.

I stood in front of the mirror in my room and held the box close to my body as I looked up and waited for the image to be taken. I couldn’t move and didn’t want to breathe.  It’s not the same as today when you can put your cellular phone up and just snap. If you don’t get it right you delete and take another one.  No, this one was different. You didn’t know how the image would come out in the dark room until you processed the film and put the paper into the water bath of chemicals to see the output that would magically appear! 

That summer I took a lot of pictures, mostly of my nieces and nephews. I was amazed at the clarity and expressions I captured. I really liked my selfie. It showed me as the smart ass I was in school.  I was a Rebel of the seventies. I thought I knew everything and no one could tell me otherwise. I captured my rebellious youth and independence. 

I really didn’t know as much as I thought looking back in hindsight. I only imaged most things which weren’t at all the way they truly were. Regardless I captured my image that showed who I was in that moment in time like people do today only more frequently due to technology.

I had someone tell me that this generation invented the selfie (maybe the name) but I have to differ since I have my own from 1976 and many others, mainly Photographers, of the past have theirs to prove the existence of a long ago sensation of taking one’s own self portrait. The difference is with the instrument, be it a cellular phone, camera or even a paint brush.  It is the concept of immortalizing one’s self with an image from a moment of time. 

I actually like mine. What do you think?

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