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Selfies From The Past: Celebrating A Birmingham Community’s Selfies From 40 Years Ago

A 1979 photography project asked passers-by to take snaps of themselves using a makeshift studio built on a street in a multicultural Birmingham suburb. A new exhibition of the Handsworth Self Portrait images showcases how people interacted with the idea of the ‘selfie’ 40 years ago. Running on weekends from August to October 1979, the Handsworth Self Portrait project, by Derek Bishton, Brian Homer and John Reardon, saw more than 500 people taking photographs of themselves in a range of poses – from more formal to outright playful. A simple set-up of a 35mm camera on a tripod with a long cable release allowed the subject of the photograph to decide how they wanted to be seen.