Selfies. Love them or hate them, today is the day to embrace getting in front of your camera. Yes, there is a national day of just about everything, and today we get to indulge ourselves with selfies. 

Selfies vs. self-portraits

Is there a difference? In my opinion, yes there is. Selfies are more associated with quick and fun mobile phone snaps. Here we are enjoying some event, location or meal. Self-portraits, on the other hand, tend to speak of planning an actual photoshoot, coming up with a concept and creating an image based on that. 

If you need or want a little help, motivation and inspiration to get in front of your own camera, check out Photofocus articles on both the selfie and self-portraits.

I’d also like to share a couple of my favorite self-portrait artists. These photographers go to great lengths to create incredible images. Brainstorming, planning, creating props and setting it all up from beginning to end themselves. 

Be sure to check out Mark Rodriguez and Sam Breach. You’ll be inspired and blown away by their work. Another place for some inspiration is on Instagram. There is even an entire self-portraiture community.

History of National Selfie Day

In case you were wondering about the origin of National Selfie Day, I found the following on the National Today website.

Self-portraiture is as timeless as art itself. Since the invention of the film camera in 1885, humans have been drawn to the allure of their own image in tangible form. The introduction of digital photography into the mainstream boosted the trend of self-portrait work from the 1990s well into the early 2000s, as the instantaneous nature of picture development made it a more affordable and accessible way to photograph than earlier film photography. By the time the camera phone, digital cameras, and social media converged around 2005, “selfie” wasn’t just a new word in our lexicon, but a full-blown world phenomenon.

The first selfie is widely credited to Robert Cornelius, an American chemist and founding father of photography. Cornelius had to sit still for 10-15 minutes to create the first intentional self-portrait using the daguerreotype method of photography in 1839. The selfie game has evolved as quickly as the technology of photography itself, with many artists establishing and redefining the genre of self-portraiture over the last 181 years. From lesser-known, yet wildly talented artists like Vivian Maier to pop culture icons like Andy Warhol, following the roots of the modern-day selfie is to go on an epic journey of world history.

But it wasn’t until the early 2000s that photography, and consequently, the selfie was available en masse to the public with the introduction of the first cell phone camera. Since then, the selfie has changed rapidly becoming both a casual means of communication and a perfected art form. Selfies have helped launch people’s careers in every field from entertainment and art to marketing and business.

My first selfie was at 1973 Cypress Gardens in Florida. They had a huge mirror and a little stand to place your camera. The cheesy hand-on-your-chin pose from the late 70s? Practicing for senior portraits, no doubt.

Celebrate the selfie

There are many ways and options out there for creating great selfies and self-portraits. Have some fun with it and see what you can come up with. Include your friends and family for group selfies.

So, get out there and create a selfie for today (or if you’d prefer a self-portrait). We’d love to see them. We’ll be celebrating in the Photofocus Community. Join us and share your National Selfie Day images there.