Take a Selfie and Win a Prize at the John Thomson Exhibition

Did John Thomson take the first ever selfie? In honour of Thomson’s creative legacy, we invite you to take a selfie at the John Thomson Exhibition – the co-curators will judge the selfies and the winner will receive a prize! Read on to find out more…

Street photographer John Thomson took many photos of people in the streets of Old China during his travels there in the 1860s. In one of them, he takes a selfie with Manchu soldiers in the background. Could this be the first ever selfie?


John Thomson selfie - John Thomson Exhibition, Brunei Gallery in London

John Thomson’s Selfie

Take Your Own Selfie at the John Thomson Exhibition

We are inviting you and all our visitors to the John Thomson Exhibition at the Brunei Gallery in London to take selfies in front of any John Thomson photo at the exhibition in honour of Thomson’s legacy. And if you post it Instagram and tag @johnthomsonlens, you could win  two lusciously illustrated books of Thomson’s photos of Old China and Siam!

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Visit the John Thomson Exhibition at the Brunei Gallery in London BY 23 JUNE 2018 – it’s FREE
  2. Enjoy the exhibition
  3. Take a selfie in front of any photo in the exhibition.
  4. Follow @johnthomsonlens on Instagram
  5. Post that selfie to Instagram and tag @johnthomsonlens
  6. That’s it!

What You Could Win

After the end of the exhibition on 23 June, our co-curators will review all these selfies tagging @johnthomsonlens by our Instagram followers and make their decision on which one they consider to be the most creative selfie*. We will contact the winner via Instagram (you need to follow us so we can send you via Instagram) and make arrangements with the winner to send the books to them**.

Here are the beautiful book prizes!









*The co-curators’ decision is final and we will not enter into any correspondence in any form including on social media or online

** UK addresses only

Good luck and may the best selfie win….!

Come to the John Thomson Exhibition

!!LAST 10 DAYS!!

Exhibition: China and Siam – Through the Lens of John Thomson

Venue: Brunei Gallery, SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, London WC1H 0XG, near Russell Square

Dates: NOW ON  to 23 June 2018

Open: Tuesday – Saturday: 10:30 – 17:00

Late night Thursday until 20:00

Closed: Sundays, Mondays and Bank Holidays



John Thomson’s photos, courtesy of Wellcome Library, London


The John Thomson Exhibition Blog features multi-media stories about John Thomson, the Victorian photographer, and the London exhibition of his photos of China and Old Siam from the 1860s, Through the Lens of John Thomson, co-curated by Betty Yao and Narisa Chakrabongse. www.johnthomsonexhibition.org