Did you know that hundreds of people die each year around the world seeking the perfect selfie?
Wikipedia has an extensive list that’s grim to read. So it’s timely to get some advice from NSW National Parks about how you can look after yourself when taking a selfie.
Falling off a cliff is a common selfie death. It only takes a small trip or an unexpected gust of wind to go sailing over the edge, so complete awareness is essential. Stay well away from the edge (remember that if you trip you could end up a lot closer) and stay totally focused near cliff edges. The photo is never worth the risk.
What about the ocean? Rock platforms with unpredictable waves, changing tides, rough beaches, slippery waterfalls and wild water holes are all drowning and falling risks. Slipping and rolling an ankle can be an ordeal if you’re far from help. Keep your eyes peeled in these danger zones and check the conditions before you go.
National parks and natural locations are inherently risky and dangerous places because they are unpredictable and unfamiliar. Do some basic research on the place you’re going, check for park alerts and the weather forecast. A little bit of prep goes a long way.
(Read the full NPWS article here.)
The history of the selfie
No, the selfie wasn’t invented by millennials. Before the smartphone era, selfies were called self-portraits.
The photographic self-portrait is surprisingly common in the very early days of photography exploration and invention, when it was often more convenient for the experimenting photographer to act as model as well. In fact, the picture considered by many to be the first photographic portrait ever taken was a “selfie”. The image in question was taken in 1839 by an amateur chemist and photography enthusiast from Philadelphia named Robert Cornelius (see photo below).
Harold Cazneaux (see photo below) was already taking his own image using a mirror in 1910. Plenty of artists would subsequently follow suit and capture their own reflections in shop windows, mirrors, with their friends, etc.
The selfie has now become accepted by society and the term has even entered the dictionary.
The word was first used in 2002 by an inebriated young Australian man who used it to comment on a selfie showing an injury he had sustained during a drunken evening. The term went viral on Myspace and then spread to other social networks…the rest is history.