The birth of photography and the age of the selfie.

What Happens the First Time People See Themselves in Photos?

What Happens the First Time People See Themselves in Photos?

What tech’s past tells us about tomorrow
Oct. 10 2018 8:30 AM

From Zero to Selfie

What happens the first time people see themselves in photos?

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In 1969, an anthropologist introduced photographs and films to people in Papua New Guinea who’d never seen themselves represented in media before. It changed their conception of the world. In modern society, social media floods us with imagery at a pace we’ve never encountered before, and powerful video-manipulation technology threatens to blur the line between real and fake. Are we the new Papuans, about to be overwhelmed by a wholesale media shift? Guests include: Nathan Jurgenson, Snapchat’s in-house sociologist, and Hany Farid, a Dartmouth computer science professor.


Podcast production by Bart Warshaw and Kate Holland.

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Tom Standage is deputy editor of the Economist. He studied engineering and computer science at Oxford University and has written for other publications including the New York Times, the Guardian, and Wired.

Seth Stevenson is a senior writer at Slate, where he’s been a contributor since 1997. He is the author of Grounded: A Down to Earth Journey Around the World.