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First known selfie, taken by Robert Cornelius in 1839
Robert Cornelius, an American pioneer in photography, produced a daguerreotype of himself in 1839 which is also one of the first photographs of a person. Because the process was slow, Cornelius was able to run into the shot for a minute or more, and then replace the lens cap. He recorded on the back "The first light Picture ever taken. 1839."
Woman taking her picture in a mirror, ca. 1900
The debut of the portable Kodak Brownie box camera in 1900 led to photographic self-portraiture becoming a more widespread technique. The method was usually with the use of a mirror and stabilizing the camera either on a nearby object or on a tripod while framing via a viewfinder at the top of the box. Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna at the age of 13 was one of the first teenagers to take her own picture using a mirror to send to a friend in 1914. In the letter that accompanied the photograph, she wrote, "I took this picture of myself looking at the mirror. It was very hard as my hands were trembling."
The earliest usage of the word selfie has been traced to 2002 when it first appeared in an Australian internet forum (ABC Online) on 13 September in a comment written by Nathan Hope: "Um, drunk at a mates 21st, I tripped ofer and landed lip first (with front teeth coming a very close second) on a set of steps. I had a hole about 1cm long right through my bottom lip. And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie." As with other new technologies, the protocols and etiquette for taking and disseminating selfies remains under development, with appropriate use a matter for consideration.
The term "selfie" was discussed by photographer Jim Krause in 2005, although photos anticipating some of the formal aspects of the selfie can be seen in the self-taken photographs that were particularly common on MySpace. Writer Kate Losse proposes that between 2006 and 2009 (when Facebook became more popular than MySpace), the "MySpace pic" (typically "an amateurish, flash-blinded self-portrait, often taken in front of a bathroom mirror") became an indication of bad taste for users of the newer Facebook social network. Early Facebook portraits, Losse claims in contrast, were usually well-focused and more formal, taken by others from distance. According to Losse, improvements in design—especially the front-facing camera copied by the iPhone 4 (2010) from Korean and Japanese mobile phones, mobile photo apps such as Instagram, and selfie sites such as ItisMee—led to the resurgence of selfies in the early 2010s.
Buzz Aldrin took the first EVA selfie in 1966.
Initially popular with young people, selfies gained wider popularity over time. By the end of 2012, Time magazine considered selfie one of the "top 10 buzzwords" of that year; although selfies had existed long before, it was in 2012 that the term "really hit the big time". According to a 2013 survey, two-thirds of Australian women age 18–35 take selfies—the most common purpose for which is posting on Facebook. A poll commissioned by smartphone and camera maker Samsung found that selfies make up 30% of the photos taken by people aged 18–24. By 2013, the word "selfie" had become commonplace enough to be monitored for inclusion in the online version of the Oxford English Dictionary. In November 2013, the word "selfie" was announced as being the "word of the year" by the Oxford English Dictionary, which gave the word itself an Australian origin.
Selfies have also taken beyond Earth. Selfies taken in space include those by astronauts, an image by NASA's Curiosity rover of itself on Mars, and images created by an indirect method, where a self-portrait photograph taken on Earth is displayed on a screen on a satellite, and captured by a camera.
In 2011 a crested black macaque stole a wildlife photographer's camera, and when the camera was later recovered it was found to contain hundreds of "selfies", including one of a grinning female macaque. This incident set off an unusual debate about copyright.
In October 2013, Imagist Labs released an iOS app called Selfie, which allows users to upload photos only from their front-facing smartphone camera. The app shows a feed of public photos of everyone’s selfies and from the people they follow. The app does not allow users to comment and users can only respond with selfies. The app soon gained popularity among teenagers.
In January 2014, during the Sochi Winter Olympics, a "Selfie Olympics" meme was popular on Twitter, where users took self-portraits in unusual situations. The spread of the meme took place with the usage of the hashtags #selfiegame and #selfieolympics.
In April 2014, the advertising agency iStrategyLabs produced a two-way mirror capable of automatically posting selfies to Twitter, using facial recognition software.
The popularity of selfies in social media has been astounding. Instagram has over 53 million photos tagged with the hashtag #selfie. The word "selfie" was mentioned in Facebook status updates over 368,000 times during a one week period in October 2013. During the same period on Twitter, the hashtag #selfie was used in more than 150,000 tweets.
Christina Novelli taking a selfie during a concert in Honolulu, Hawaii
San Francisco Giants fan taking a selfie in front of a bonfire during celebrations after the 2014 World Series
The appeal of selfies comes from how easy they are to create and share, and the control they give self-photographers over how they present themselves. Many selfies are intended to present a flattering image of the person, especially to friends whom the photographer expects to be supportive. However, a 2013 study of Facebook users found that posting photos of oneself correlates with lower levels of social support from and intimacy with Facebook friends (except for those marked as Close Friends). The lead author of the study suggests that "those who frequently post photographs on Facebook risk damaging real-life relationships." The photo messaging application Snapchat is also largely used to send selfies. Some users of Snapchat choose to send intentionally-unattractive selfies to their friends for comedic purposes.
Posting intentionally unattractive selfies has also become common in the early 2010s—in part for their humor value, but in some cases also to explore issues of body image or as a reaction against the perceived narcissism or over-sexualization of typical selfies.
Former South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak and footballer Ji So Yun
Many celebrities – especially sex symbols – post selfies for their followers on social media, and provocative or otherwise interesting celebrity selfies are the subject of regular press coverage. Some commentators, such as Emma Barnett of The Telegraph, have argued that sexy celebrity selfies (and sexy non-celebrity selfies) can be empowering to the selfie-takers but harmful to women in general as they promote viewing women as sex objects. Actor and avid selfie poster James Franco wrote an op-ed for The New York Times defending this frequent use of selfies on his Instagram page. Franco defends the self-portrait stating they should not be seen as an egocentric act, but instead a journalistic moment as it cultivates a "visual culture, the selfie quickly and easily shows, not tells, how you're feeling, where you are, what you're doing", much like a photojournalist image.
Franco continued to write how peoples' social lives are
more electronic, we become more adept at interpreting social media. And, as our social lives become more electronic, we become more adept at interpreting social media. A texting conversation might fall short of communicating how you are feeling, but a selfie might make everything clear in an instant. Selfies are tools of communication more than marks of vanity (but yes, they can be a little vain).
A selfie orchestrated by 86th Academy Awards host Ellen DeGeneres during the 2 March 2014 broadcast is the most retweeted image ever. DeGeneres said she wanted to homage Meryl Streep's record 18 Oscar nominations by setting a new record with her, and invited twelve other Oscar celebrities to join them, which included Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Channing Tatum, Bradley Cooper, Kevin Spacey, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyong'o, Jared Leto and Jennifer Lawrence. The resulting photo of the celebrities broke the previous retweet record within forty minutes, and was retweeted over 1.8 million times in the first hour. By the end of the ceremony it had been retweeted over 2 million times, less than 24 hours later, it had been retweeted over 2.8 million times. As of 24 June 2014, it has been retweeted 3,415,871 times. It beat the previous record, 778,801, which was held by Barack Obama, following his victory in the 2012 presidential election.
One person who loves to take selfies and is known as the "selfie queen" is Kim Kardashian. This year in 2014 she made a selfie book that consists of selfies throughout the whole year. She earned this title by taking the social media website Instagram very seriously and posting her selfies numerous times per week. She even has a set of rules that she goes by when taking the "perfect selfie."
Bill Nye takes a selfie with US President Barack Obama and Neil deGrasse Tyson at the White House
President Barack Obama made news headlines during Nelson Mandela's memorial celebration at the Johannesburg's FNB Stadium with various world leaders, as he was snapped taking a selfie and sharing smiles with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and later with British Prime Minister David Cameron, as they gathered to pay tribute to Mandela. The decision to take the selfies was considered to be in poor taste, as British political columnist Iain Martin critiqued the behaviour as "clowning around like muppets". The photos also depict the First Lady Michelle Obama sitting next to them looking "furious and mortified". Despite the criticism, Roberto Schmidt, the photographer who captured the photos taken at the celebration, reported to the Today show it was taken at "a jovial, celebratory portion of the service".
In India, BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi posted a selfie on Twitter after voting in Gandhinagar, India. The post became a major trending item on the micro-blogging platform. In July 2014, the Swiss government is the first to take and post a picture of an entire national government (the picture was taken by one of the seven members of the government, Alain Berset).
A group selfie of tourists using a Selfie stick for a wider angle image.
In January 2014, Business Insider published a story referring to such images as "usies". A photograph of Pope Francis with visitors to the Vatican has been called an usie by The Daily Dot, and TMZ has used the term to describe a selfie taken of celebrity couple Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez.
The term "groufie" has been trademarked by Chinese phone manufacturer Huawei Technologies in China, France, Germany, Russia, and the U.S. The word was introduced during the launch of its Ascend P7 smartphone in 2014. Huawei defines the groufie as a panoramic selfie involving multiple subjects, as well as background scenery, captured using the front facing, 8-megapixel camera and panorama capabilities of its phones.
Another term for a group selfie is "wefie", originally trademarked by Samsung in the U.S. to promote the wide-angle lens of its NX series of cameras.
The world's largest group selfie included 2000 people and was taken on 23 November 2014 in Brooklyn, New York at the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries.
In popular culture
In August 2013, The Guardian produced a film series titled Thinkfluencer exploring selfie exposure in the UK.
American dance music duo The Chainsmokers released a single #SELFIE in 2014.
In August 2014, selfie was officially accepted for use in the word game Scrabble
From September to November 2014, the American television sitcom Selfie aired on ABC, telling the story of a woman trying to achieve fame through social media.
Psychology and neuroscience
According to a study performed by Nicola Bruno and Marco Bertamini at the University of Parma, selfies by non-professional photographers show a slight bias for showing the left cheek of the selfie-taker. This is similar to what has been observed for portraits by professional painters from many different historical periods and styles, indicating that the left cheek bias may be rooted in asymmetries of brain lateralization that are well documented within cognitive neuroscience. In a second study, the same group tested if selfie takers without training in photography spontaneously adhere to widely prescribed rules of photographic composition, such as the rule of thirds. It seems that they do not, suggesting that these rules may be conventional rather than hardwired in the brain's perceptual preferences.
In April 2014, a man diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder recounted spending ten hours a day attempting to take the "right" selfie, attempting suicide after failing to produce what he perceived to be the perfect selfie. The same month brought several scholarly publications linking excessive selfie posting with body dysmorphic disorder.
Injuries while taking photos
In July 2014, a fourteen-year-old girl in the Philippines fell to her death after losing her balance while taking a selfie of herself and a friend near the staircase landing of their school in suburban Pasig City. In August 2014, a fifteen-year-old boy was critically wounded after accidentally shooting himself while taking a selfie in which his other hand was holding a gun to his chin. In November 2014 a Polish woman vacationing in Spain fell to her death while attempting a picturesque selfie from the Puente de Triana bridge in the city of Seville.
Scene 2: An Angel Visits Mary
MARY enters from the side and stands near the BASKET OF CLOTHES.
MARY begins folding the clothes.
God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee.
ANGEL begins sneakily tip-toeing from the side, making their way to stand behind MARY, who doesn’t notice.
He was sent to a girl named Mary. The angel greeted her and said...
(Jumps out from behind MARY)
MARY throws the piece of clothing she was folding in the air.
MARY takes a few steps away and hides behind the RECTANGULAR BOX.
The Lord has given you special favor. He is with you.
Mary was very upset because of his words. Mary wondered...
MARY stands up and scratches her head.
What kind of greeting this could be?
But the angel said to her...
(Holds out a hand out)
Do not be afraid, Mary. God is very pleased with you.
Then the angel said...
The ANGEL reaches into their sash, pulls out the FOLDED LETTER, walks over to the NARRATOR, and hands it to them.
The NARRATOR unfolds the letter and glances over it, then looks at the ANGEL quizzically.
The ANGEL leans over and whispers in the NARRATOR’S ear.
The NARRATOR nods.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the angel has informed me that, after a long and tiring trip from heaven, they’d like a little help delivering their long message from God. Any volunteers? (Waits a second.) Ah, yes, you over there.
The ANGEL’S MOM OR DAD comes and stands next to the NARRATOR.
The NARRATOR hands the LETTER to the ANGEL’S MOM OR DAD.
The ANGEL returns to where they were onstage.
The angel continued...
You will become pregnant...
The ANGEL pats their belly a few times.
And give birth to a son. You must name him Jesus.
The ANGEL grabs the JESUS SIGN from the back of the stage, holds it up for the audience to see, and hands it to MARY, who holds it in one hand.
He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God.
The ANGEL flexes their muscles several times like a body builder.
The Lord God will make him a king like his father David of long ago.
The ANGEL grabs the CROWN SIGN from the back of the stage, holds it up for the audience to see, and hands it to MARY, who holds it in her other hand.
He will rule forever over his people, who came from Jacob's family. His kingdom will never end.
Mary asked the angel...
How can this happen?
The angel answered...
The Holy Spirit will come to you.
The ANGEL reaches up to the sky and slowly lowers their hands to waist level while wiggling their fingers.
The power of the Most High God will cover you. So the holy one that is born will be called the Son of God.
Nothing is impossible with God.
I serve the Lord. May it happen to me just as you said it would.
Then the angel left her.
The ANGEL exits to the side of the stage.
MARY sets the SIGNS back on the back of the stage.
MARY puts the clothes in the basket and exits to the side of the stage.
Scene 3: An Angel Visits Joseph in a Dream
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
JOSEPH enters from the side of the stage, holding a BOUQUET OF FLOWERS.
His mother Mary and Joseph had promised to get married.
JOSEPH gestures over to the side of the stage for someone to come over.
MARY enters in slowly from the side of the stage with a noticeably pregnant belly, holding one hand against the small of her back.
But before they started to live together, it became clear that she was going to have a baby. She became pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit.
JOSEPH stares with his mouth open, throws the FLOWERS in the air, and puts his head in his hands.
MARY covers her face, crying, and runs, exiting to the side of the stage.
Her husband Joseph was a godly man.
JOSEPH paces back and forth, pretending to talk to himself.
He did not want to put her to shame in public. So he planned to divorce her quietly.
But as Joseph was thinking about this...
JOSEPH sits down on the RECTANGULAR BOX and poses like the thinker. He slowly leans his head and lays down on the RECTANGULAR BOX to sleep.
...an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream.
The ANGEL runs in from the side, does a somersault, and jumps up with arms outstretched.
The angel said...
(Holding out one hand to Joseph)
Joseph, son of David...
JOSEPH sits up, startled. He hides behind the RECTANGULAR BOX.
Don't be afraid to take Mary home as your wife.
The baby inside her...
The ANGEL pats their belly a few times.
...is from the Holy Spirit.
The ANGEL holds out their hands up to the sky and wiggles his fingers while hopping from foot to foot.
She is going to have a son. You must give him the name Jesus.
The ANGEL grabs the JESUS SIGN from the back of the stage, holds it up for the audience to see, and hands it to JOSEPH, who holds it in one hand.
That is because he will save his people from their sins.
The ANGEL grabs the SAVIOR SIGN from the back of the stage, holds it up for the audience to see, and hands it to JOSEPH, who holds it in one hand.
After a beat, the ANGEL takes the SIGNS back and sets the where they were before.
The ANGEL helps JOSEPH lay back down on the RECTANGULAR BOX. The ANGEL grabs the BLANKET from behind the RECTANGULAR BOX and lays it on JOSEPH.
The ANGEL then exits to the side of the stage, doing another somersault as they leave.
Joseph woke up.
JOSEPH sits up, pulls off the BLANKET, and sets it behind the RECTANGULAR BOX.
JOSEPH rubs his eyes with his palms, pinches himself, and stands up.
He did what the angel of the Lord commanded him to do.
MARY does a pregnant-style run over to JOSEPH.
JOSEPH pats down his torso, as if feeling in his pockets. He then does a “COME ON” gesture towards the NARRATOR.
The NARRATOR walks over to JOSEPH and hands him a ring.
JOSEPH bows down on one knee. MARY holds a hand, and JOSEPH puts a ring on it.
He took Mary home as his wife.
JOSEPH and MARY hold hands and exit to the side of the stage.
Scene 4: Mary and Joseph Travel to Bethlehem
In those days, Caesar Augustus made a law.
CAESAR AUGUSTUS enters from the side holding a SCROLL and stands in the center of the stage.
CAESAR AUGUSTUS lets the SCROLL roll to the ground and pretends to read it.
Hear ye, hear ye! Let there be a list be made of everyone in the whole Roman world.
CAESAR AUGUSTUS exits to the side of the stage.
All went to their own towns to be listed. So Joseph went also. He went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea.
The INNKEEPERS enter from the side of stage, holding INNKEEPER SIGNS, with their heads poking out from the cutout of the sign. They stand, spread out in a long line.
That is where Bethlehem, the town of David, was.
JOSEPH enters from the side, pulling a WAGON with MARY riding in it. MARY is looking very pregnant.
He went there with Mary to be listed. Mary was engaged to him. She was expecting a baby.
JOSEPH pulls the wagon up to INNKEEPER 1 and knocks on their INNKEEPER SIGN.
JOSEPH pulls the wagon up to INNKEEPER 2 and knocks on their INNKEEPER SIGN.
JOSEPH pulls the wagon up to INNKEEPER 3 and knocks on their INNKEEPER SIGN.
There was no room for them in the inn.
The INNKEEPERS exit to the side of the stage.
The STABLEKEEPER enters from the side carrying the STABLEKEEPER SIGN and stands in the center of the stage, in front of the RECTANGULAR BOX.
JOSEPH pulls the wagon over to the STABLEKEEPER and KNOCKS on their STABLEKEEPER SIGN.
There’s room in the barn!
JOSEPH gives the STABLEKEEPER a bow of thanks.
The STABLEKEEPER exits to the side of the stage.
JOSEPH and MARY sit on the RECTANGULAR BOX.
The STAGE HANDS carry the MANGER and set it in the middle of the stage.
Scene 5: Jesus is Born in a Stable
While Joseph and Mary were there, the time came for the child to be born.
JOSEPH kneels next to MARY and grabs her hand. He rubs his hand once along her hair.
She gave birth to her first baby.
JOSEPH reaches behind the RECTANGULAR BOX and grabs the BABY.
(Holding the BABY up)
It’s a boy!
MARY grabs the BLANKET from behind the RECTANGULAR BOX .
JOSEPH hands the BABY to MARY.
She wrapped him in large strips of cloth.
MARY wraps the BABY in the BLANKET.
Then she placed him in a manger.
MARY places the BABY in the manger.
MARY and JOSEPH exit to the side of the stage, taking the WAGON with them.
Scene 6: The Angels Visit Shepherds
There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby.
A group of SHEPHERDS enter from the side of the stage.
They were looking after their sheep.
A group of children dressed as SHEEP enter from the side of the stage wearing SHEEP HATS and sit down, scattered near the center.
It was night.
The SHEEP yawn and stretch.
The SHEPHERDS run to the side of the stage and grab blankets and pillows.
The SHEPHERDS proceed to tuck each of the sheep in by laying then down on the floor, placing a pillow under their heads, and pulling a blanket over them.
When the SHEPHERDS are finished, they sit down on or near the RECTANGULAR BOX .
An angel of the Lord appeared to them.
ANGEL 3 jumps out from the side of the stage with their hands up and stands near the SHEPHERDS.
And the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were terrified.
The SHEPHERDS kneel and cower in fear, hiding behind the RECTANGULAR BOX.
But the angel said to them...
(Holding out a hand)
Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy.
It is for all the people.
The ANGEL gestures out toward the audience.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord.
The ANGEL makes the baseball “Safe!” sign with their arms.
Here is how you will know I am telling you the truth. You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth...
The ANGEL grabs the BABY SIGN from the back of the stage, holds it up for the audience to see, and hands it to one of the SHEPHERDS, who holds it in their hand.
And lying in a manger.
The ANGEL grabs the MANGER SIGN from the back of the stage, holds it up for the audience to see, and hands it to one of the SHEPHERDS, who holds it in their hand.
Suddenly a large group of angels from heaven also appeared.
ANGEL 1 and ANGEL 2 run on stage and stand next to ANGEL 1.
They were praising God. They said...
ANGELS 1, 2 AND 3
(Raising their hands to the sky)
Glory to God in heaven!
And may peace be given to those he is pleased with on earth!
The angels left and went into heaven.
The ANGELS exit to the side of the stage.
Then the shepherds said to one another...
Let's go to Bethlehem.
Let's see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
So they hurried off...
The SHEPHERDS and all of the SHEEP exit to the right of the stage.
They found Mary and Joseph and the baby.
MARY and JOSEPH enter from the side of the stage and sit on the RECTANGULAR BOX.
The baby was lying in the manger.
The SHEPHERDS enter from the side of the stage and kneel around the manger.
After the shepherds had seen him, they told everyone. They reported what the angel had said about this child.
The SHEPHERDS run all over into the audience, going to various people, putting their hands on their shoulders and saying, “Jesus is born!” After 30 seconds of this, they run to the back of the auditorium and wait.
Everyone who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
I said, everyone who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
(Gestures to the congregation)
But Mary kept all these things like a secret treasure in her heart.
MARY picks up the BABY and walks off the side of the stage, looking up contemplatively.
JOSEPH exits to the side of the stage after her.
She thought about them over and over.
The shepherds returned.
The SHEPHERDS run from the back on the auditorium and onto the stage.
They gave glory and praise to God.
The SHEPHERDS to a brief, silly dance of celebration.
Everything they had seen and heard was just as they had been told.
The SHEPHERDS exit to the side of the stage.
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