When you hear the word selfie, what images are conjured? A coarse Kardashian perhaps? A timid teen fishing for approval? Some other poor alliterative phrase?
But, the selfie is much more than that, it is a folk art.
That’s a big claim but, it is clear that the selfie is all around us. Expanding the language of photography and providing rapid communication of more than a thousand words. Rather than markers of vanity, I found selfies to be tools of communication, pieces of yourself you send out to others to give a sense of who you are.
I’ve found, too often, the individuals of the supply chain are lost in the process of their work. They are part of a process and once their stage has passed, they are gone. The selfie allows for a capturing of the individual within the supply chain, their importance, a snapshot into our life, world and self(ie).
The selfie’s communicative power celebrates the remarkable individuals working in all aspects of the supply chain, to display those that make a huge difference, not only to your business but to the entire world.
But how? How did taking a picture of ourselves become a rescue from anonymity?
Let’s explore the six point evolution of the selfie and find out!
The selfie isn’t a modern phenomenon; it’s has been around for a long time. In fact, the picture considered by many to be the first photographic portrait ever taken was a “selfie”. It was taken in 1839 by an amateur chemist and photography enthusiast from Philadelphia named Robert Cornelius.
Cornelius set his camera up at the back of his family store and hurriedly ran into frame after removing the lens cap. On the back he wrote the first ever selfie caption: “The first light picture ever taken. 1839”. 1839 was 176 years ago!
From Victorian parlours pictures to outer space selfies and everything in between, we aim to show you how we got from this:
1860’s – Sharing – The ancestor of Instagram
This is where the selfie mutated and gained its sharing trait. Yes, before the internet.
The 1860s saw huge popularity for the sharing of cartes de visite, made famous by Emperor Napoleon the Third. They were little photocards that were traded among friends and visitors. Their immense popularity led to the publication and collection of photographs of celebrities of the day. This is the ancestor of Instagram.
1890’s – Social
With the introduction of cameras with self-timers and long cable releases, selfies became essential to every respectable Victorian household. Despite the danger of straying into the realms of ‘too dark for a blog post,’ it must be mentioned that the Victorians, being the bleak folk we know them to be, used to take selfies with dead members of their friends or family. The selfie became a group activity, used as a social memorial – capturing an instant in time before it was lost forever.
Early 1900’s – The mirror selfie
If you have ever taken a mirror selfie, you know the dangers, the glare from the surface, marks on the mirror giving away the illusion, the camera getting in the way, awkward angles… The list goes on. But imagine having to do it then!
Though more unwieldy than its modern equivalent, the mirror selfie became widespread. People were able to capture themselves with ease. Perhaps this is when the selfie mutated its vanity trait!
1960’s – The (near) instant
This is where the selfie grew an arm and was able to move much faster because of it. The Polaroid camera allowed people quick access to their selfies. It also gave selfies a typical ‘look’ that is maintained to this day. The bizarre angles, the arm outstretched, the close-in intimacy that defines the spur-of-the-moment selfie. But more importantly, selfies become near instant and portable, they can capture a spontaneous moment that would otherwise go unrecorded.
2000’s – The digital
Now lost in the ethersphere of the internet, it began with the deskbound webcam shots, grainy, weird and low quality. But, a person could now become their own digital avatar. An online representation that had your face! This became the selfie craze we know today, pictures became a tool to rapidly communicate over the internet. Pictures became our (chosen) experiences made public for the (chosen) world to see. It became a way to converse in images.
2014 – Developments
Selfies take on a new form, developing technology allowed for high quality photos, transmitted in an instant. Video game players can even take selfies of their in-game character. Creating a ‘stream of communication between players inside a fictional reality’ shows just how complex the selfie has become. We also now have first selfie taken from outer space – encompassing the whole world and acting as a powerful metaphor for the whole phenomena.
I know it sounded farfetched at first; I am as surprised as you are.
I entered this blog indifferent to the ‘craze’ but have found a depth that is hidden behind the Kardashians and Biltzerians. The selfie is the latest tool in human communications; with a powerful history of sharing, celebrating and helping.
This is the unsettling conclusion: A trend which is often scoffed at by many is in fact ‘latest tool in human communications’ and has been around for 176 years… Contentious? Yes. But there is undeniable power in the ‘selfie’.
So, I urge you take part and to communicate, give us a sense of you, the individuals who make up the supply chain.
Take a selfie and upload it to celebrate the importance of the supply chain. http://www.supplychainselfie.com/
For every picture they receive Distance Learning College will donate to Unicef – an incredibly important charity currently aiding alleviate the Nepal catastrophe.