Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The Mysterious Selfie Man

Who is this man?
And you thought selfies were just a phenomenon of the iPhone age! But in ancient times they had a wonder of modern (for then) engineering called the Photo Booth, and anybody with spare change and the gumption could take as many primitive selfies as they liked.

Most folks were satisfied with just a few. It wasn't the most convenient thing, after all. Some people though caught the selfie fever, including the strain popular in our time of taking the same photo of yourself repeatedly over time so you can watch yourself get old.

Recently, a treasure trove of mysterious, ancient selfies were unearthed in an antique shop and are currently on display at Rutgers University. 450 of them, and all lovingly framed. Historians are digging into them because no one has any idea who this man was or why he was so persistent.  Did he mean to leave them behind as a small legacy of his existence? Or was he just OCD? It's an enigma.

Look closely -- is this your Grandpa?  If so, give the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers a call.


UPDATE:  Good news! Selfie Man has been identified! It turns out he was a happy-go-lucky gentleman named Franklyn Swantek who owned Swantek Photo Service, Michigan's biggest photo booth business until he passed away in the mid-1980s. Apparently, he took all those pictures of himself to check whether his photo booths were working right.

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