MONTREAL — A Montreal student has drawn three million YouTube views after taking a selfie every day for more than six years and creating a stop-motion video of his aging process.
When 19-year-old Hugo Cornellier" took his first selfie on April 8, 2008, the word selfie didn't even exist.
"I wanted to show the physical changes in my face," said the Concordia University student. "I started to take a picture of myself every day. But I didn't know it was going to last this long."
He got the idea when he was 12, after becoming fascinated with the stop-motion effect on his dad's new camera. He took 50 self-portraits and loved the results.
The disciplined youth made sure to maintain the same neutral expression through all 2,312 selfies.
"I don't smile," he said. "All the better to see the changes on my face."
Nothing stopped him from doing his daily selfie.
"Even when we went on vacation to Cuba, I took my computer to take pictures every day," he said.
"I told my family: 'if I die, put my last photo in the video. That way, my children and my grandchildren can see the movie of my life.'"
His Youtube success has made his parents proud.
"This project was his own initiative," said his mother, Marian Cornellier.
"We never reminded him once to take a picture."
Curiously, the video has so far generated few hits in Canada, however it's gone viral in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Switzerland and France.
"I even received e-mails from Ghana," said Cornellier. "People told me that I inspired them."
The success over his headshots hasn't gone to his head.
"I'm not a professional filmmaker. I'm just a guy that takes pictures."