Who Really Invented The Selfie?

Who Really Invented The Selfie?

At the Museum of Selfies, the Los Angeles exhibit charts the history of the selfie starting from the first cave painting all the way to Paris Hilton.

At the Museum of Selfies, the Los Angeles exhibit charts the history of the selfie starting from the first cave painting all the way to Paris Hilton.

Text: Nadja Sayej

Let's face it - we go to museums for the selfies. It has been a bit taboo, until now. The Museum of Selfies, a pop-up exhibition which opens April 1 in Los Angeles lets you take selfies in all their cheesy glory.

It's founded by an unlikely duo, game designers Tommy Honton and Tair Mamedov, came up with the idea last year. “We joked around with the idea of a selfie museum,” said Honton. “We want to bring in sceptics while exploring the history and the culture around this whole phenomenon.”

The 8,000-square-foot museum will be divided into two sections; a chronological timeline of the selfie from the first cave painting to Renaissance art, the invention of photography to Facebook and cell phone cameras. “We want to show people all these things had to converge for selfie culture to become a thing,” said Honton. “If we didn’t have social media, the selfie probably wouldn’t have taken off.”

The exhibition traces the history of self-portraits from the prehistoric era to 2006, the year Paris Hilton claims to have “invented” the selfie, self-portraits in 21st century art, including mirror selfies by Jacqueline Kennedy in the 1960s, food selfies from Instagram, iconic skyscraper selfies and the infamous bathroom selfie.

There are photo-op set-ups, like one mini skyscraper people can climb up to take a photo (coincidentally, New York City was the world’s most Instagrammed city of 2017). The museum also has a gym-like setting where guests can walk into a mirror with a six pack muscle body. “It’s all sculpture, we wanted things to be physical, tactile and real,” said Honton.

Just as Ellen DeGeneres’ 2014 Oscar selfie was one of the most liked and shared images on Twitter, it had a certain quality that made it successful. “The strongest aspect people connect with in selfies is its unscripted, spontaneous approach,” said Honton. “That Oscar shot captured spontaneity and fun.”

 More than just a popularity contest, the museum hopes to question why we take and post photos in the first place. “Selfies are easy to document something to brag about,” said Honton. “People use it as a replacement for experiencing the real thing.”

Credits: images courtesy of the museum of selfies

UP NEXT

Go Backstage at Emporio Armani's FW18 Show