A Mirror Self-Portrait Captured in 1917

Snapping mirror self-portraits may have gotten a huge boost from the introduction of digital photography and smartphoneography, but it is by no means a new activity limited to our era. The photograph above was created back in 1917 — nearly 100 years ago! It was snapped by an Australian flying ace named Thomas Baker when he was 20 years old.

Here’s what the Australian War Memorial says about the image:

Self portrait of 18 Gunner (Gnr) Thomas Charles Richmond Baker […] Taken using the reflection in a dresser mirror, the Kodak camera is clearly seen beside Gnr Baker. Items on the dresser include a basket, an empty wine bottle and glass and a pile of papers.

About a year after shooting this photograph, Baker was shot down by German ace Karl Bolle at the tender age of 21. Credited with bringing down 12 German aircraft during his short career, Baker was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

While the picture above is certainly the oldest mirror selfie we’ve seen thus far, it’s far from the oldest non-mirror selfie. The oldest known portrait photo, shot by photography pioneer Robert Cornelius, was captured 78 years earlier in 1839:

The First Portrait Photograph Ever Made firstportrait

If you happen to know of any even older mirror self-portrait, please leave a comment telling us about it!

(via AWM via Gizmodo)

  • Rob

    At least they’re fully clothed, and aren’t making that stupid “duck face”.

  • Lex Arias

    No instagram!!! yeah!

  • Eziz

    I prefer bimbos with duckfaces. Don’t judge me!

  • Dizono

    No mirror used but Hippolyte Bayard took a self portrait in 1840:

  • Samcornwell

    I find it very hard to believe that it took 70 years after the invention of photography for the first person to think of taking a photo of themselves in a mirror. Fox-Talbot certainly doesn’t have any in his records, but Daguerre may. He was far more flamboyant.

  • monteraz

    He had an iphone over the pile of papers

  • Samcornwell

    Jacques Henri Lartigue would have almost certainly done this as a child. You’ll need to do some rooting around his archive though.

  • monteraz

    He had an smartphone over the pile of papers

  • Samcornwell

    There’s a couple of candidates here, including an interesting mirrorball picture –

  • JonnyD

    “Say Prune! “

  • OmniMode

    And it’s not in the bathroom.

  • pg

    #nofilter :P

  • Steve Goodair

    I’ve got one, that’s a contender. Where do I send it?

  • monteraz

    He had an android over the pile of papers.

  • monteraz

    He had a nexus over the pile of papers.

  • monteraz

    He had a windows phone over the pile of papers.