I was taking Selfies way before there was a name for it. When I was growing up in the late 80s and early 90s disposable cameras were cool, or at least I thought they were. Every Bar Mitzvah or wedding I attended had disposable cameras for guests to use. I would go around to all the tables and take pictures of myself.
My friend’s mom called to say that they developed the pictures from her kid’s Bar Mitzvah and there were a quite a few pictures of Mikey’s face. (Everyone called me Mikey.) There probably were between twenty to fifty pictures of me developed. I think my mom thought it was funny the first time.
By the third or fourth time a friend’s mom called, I was told to knock it off. So, for my Bar Mitzvah I got my own camera. I casually carried on my hobby of taking pictures of myself with nowhere to display them. I would get my travel pictures developed, and the majority of the images were of my face. Of course, now everyone is taking a “Selfie.”
Side note: Waiting to get pictures to be developed from a trip was such a curious process of wondering how they would turn out. Guess we don’t need to worry about that anymore. #nostalgic
The first official time I can remember traveling and rebuffing anyone offering to take a picture of me, was my first trip to Europe, right after high school in 1994. I would turn the camera around a take a shot of myself. Here are a few Selfies from that trip; in France with the Notre Dame Cathedral behind me in Paris, in Italy overlooking a street in Florence and in a club in London.
That first trip to Europe changed my life. I was excited to travel, do more and see the world. A few years after my first trip overseas I went back to London to study for a semester and traveled extensively. This is where I let my selfies run wild. I took hundreds upon hundreds of pictures of myself all over Europe and Egypt. When I returned home from that epic travel adventure, I once again developed all my pictures, it was 1997 and there was still nowhere to upload the images.
I didn't think much about the pictures or Selfies and went off to finish my junior and senior year at a new college, in a new city (Emerson College, Boston, MA). Traveling played a pivotal role in deciding to transfer colleges and move to a new city. I felt alive and inspired. I wanted to keep having new adventures.
When I returned home from college, I found something hanging on wall in my room. My mom, who has always been my biggest "Selfie" fan made this incredible collage shrine of some of my pictures taken while studying and traveling abroad.
Mom included "Selfie" pictures of us when she came to visit me in London and we went to Scotland for a weekend. Side note: I almost crashed into a Scottish police car learning how to drive stick shift. Mom didn't let me drive after that and I still don’t drive stick shift. That story for another day.
Check out how awesome this "Selfie" collage is! The collage has "Selfies" with my buddies Gabe and Brian, as well as two very nice random people I met along the way, one from Austria the other from Germany. Oh, make sure you look at the detail around the edges, Mom used other images from my travels as the border. She killed it!
Even when I got in trouble for taking pictures of myself at Bar Mitzvahs my mom would secretly tell me how much she loved my "Selfie" pictures. To this day, if I'm with my mom and we see someone taking a "Selfie" she looks at me and states, "YOU invented that."
I looked online to see who got credit for coining the term "Selfie." That honor was given to Nathan Hope. In 2002 he used the word “Selfie” for the first time in a publication or electronic medium.
"Um, drunk at a mates 21st, I tripped 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. (1)
A drunk Aussie gets the credit for inventing the “Seflie” for posting a picture of his busted lip ? That's hilarious! The word “Selfie” was officially entered into the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013. (2)
So maybe the dictionary doesn't recognize me as the inventor of the word "Selfie" or even as the one who coined the term "Seflie", but my mom thinks I did. Which is way cooler and meaningful than any dictionary entry.
Besides, I do think we have an argument for being the first mother and son "Selfie" collage posted on a wall.
See you on the open road.