Tag Archives: Photography

Thing-a-day 27: The First Selfie

Is a selfie simply a self-portrait? Many say no, that a selfie is explicitly taken while holding the camera. So while at least one very early photographer experimented with himself as a subject, the first true selfie is these guys:

Here’s how they did it:

Snapped in New York on the roof of the Marceau Studio on Fifth Avenue, across the street from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, this picture features five mustached photographers holding an antediluvian analog camera at arm’s length. Because this camera would have been too heavy to hold with one hand, Joseph Byron is propping it up on the left, with his colleague Ben Falk holding it on the right. In the middle, you have Pirie MacDonald, Colonel Marceau, and Pop Core.

What’s interesting here is that these five gentlemen were the photographers of the Byron Company, a photography studio founded in Manhattan in 1892, which was described by the New York Times as “one of New York’s pre-eminent commercial photography studios.”
From This Might Be The First Selfie In Photographic History: Mustached New Yorkers, Not Teenage Girls, Were the Creators of the Arm’s-Length Selfie.

So basically the first selfie was literally marketing. Now, of course, it is in true 21st Century fashion all about Brand You.

Thing-a-day 1: Photo shoot

Today I walked out with my sister and her fiancé to do some photos for them to mark their engagement. They are getting married this summer. We walked in Rockefeller Park, which has some nice features and was busy with people and animals on a remarkably mild day after all the weirdy weather we’ve been getting.

How cute are these squirrels? We couldn’t tell whether the chasing squirrel was inflamed with desire for the running squirrel or the cracker it was carrying.

This dog was open. Either squirrel, or both, whatever. Just want.

Tom Otterness has a collection of bronzes in the park called The Real World that has some dark scenes.

My sister did a lot of inadvertent Isotoner advertising today.

My commitment to myself is to post something here every day for the month of February. Feel free to send Disapproval Face my way if I miss a day!

When the ergot hits the rye

At some point in my adolescence, I was brought along to some kind of poetry group and someone read a poem with on the theme of ergot poisoning from grain. I have no other memories of the group at all, but I was reminded of it by this photo:

So, there it is. That’s what it looks like.

That, and, maybe, the Salem witch trials.

In Focus with Alan Taylor

Alan Taylor created The Big Picture at Boston.com when he was working at the site. He’d been monitoring the wire services for photos for years, finding them a rich source for telling stories of the day in a dense and moving way. The site agreed, and he built the feature, assembling wire (and some other) photos into essays that are beautiful but also thoughtful and honest.

The Atlantic, a old media publication that has been embracing the Web with stunning effect, has been assembling an incredible team of voices for its site, and it wisely snapped Taylor up this year.

Now Taylor’s new home is live. I think you’re going to want to follow it.

In Focus with Alan Taylor [web]
In Focus with Alan Taylor [Twitter]

Animal-a-Day Month

My commitment to take a picture of an animal every day during the month of April was a huge success. So much so that yesterday, when I posted this:

Steller Jay

I tagged it “animaladay” automatically even though it wasn’t April anymore. Part of me wants to stop using the tag, because the original commitment is complete, but I will probably keep using something — dailyanimal, maybe. Because what I learned in April was that those minutes, sometimes hours, spent wandering around, making eye contact with animals, and watching them go about their day made every day noticeably better.