Most people think that selfies are a new phenomenon, but they have been around since the beginnings of photography. American photographer Robert Cornelius took a daguerreotype of himself in 1839.
As technology advanced, photographers, both professional and amateur, figured out new ways to take self-portraits. The mirror was a popular medium for the selfie. Even the ill-fated Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia took her own photo in a mirror in 1914.
Therefore, it was not surprising that the prolific Booth family photographer Henry Scripps Booth sought a way to take self-portraits. When using something like a Folding Kodak camera, Henry would have “tied a long string to the shutter release so that some member of the group could pull the string and thus make the exposure while remaining in the picture.” (Kodakery: A Journal for Amateur Photographers.)
Here are two examples of Henry’s technique in action:
– Leslie Mio, Assistant Registrar