I invented the vintage “selfie”

Back when Yugos were still a punchline and I owned a boxy, not “pocket” or “compact” Kodak Instamatic camera, I devised what surely was a precursor to “selfies.” See, I figured out I could use a long stick to press the shutter button down and take a photo. This wasn’t an exact process. It didn’t always go off as planned. Sometimes I merely shoved the camera or knocked it off its perch with the stick instead of successfully depressing the shutter. More often than not actually. It was tricky to reach from the side – in order to avoid taking an arm selfie – and press the shutter AND not jostle the camera in the doing, resulting in a blurry picture. Also, it had to be a long stick – unlike now, anything taken too close wouldn’t result in a decent photo. You might just get a weird-looking nose or something. There weren’t no ZOOM on this thing.

One time it worked well was when my sister and I went to the beach. We’d made a one-time-and-one-time-only trip with an older sister and “her guy.” (This was a mistake.) Anyway, having had enough of sister & guy, the two of us took off to spend the day at an unpopulated beach nearby. There, after I found a decent long stick and set up my camera on a cooler, the two of us lay down on our towels and posed, propped up on our elbows, facing the camera. Later, much later, when the film was developed, it turned out to be one of the nicest, most fun, pictures of us. (To this day I suspect her of having swiped it since I can’t find it and my photos are well-organized, but that’s another matter, ahem).

My sister was impressed with my invention and began talking about “stick photography” – without actually saying what it was – including, she said to a friend studying photography, who couldn’t understand why she’d never heard of this term.

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