“I was taking selfies before it was mainstream,” Hugo Cornellier states in the description of his YouTube video that shows his 7-year transformation from a boy to a man through a series of daily selfies.
The video begins with a baby-faced boy on the verge of puberty and shows him rapidly going through growth spurts and hairstyle changes until he becomes a young man — basically "Boyhood" in a minute and a half.
Cornellier was only 12 when he began the project. The idea came to him after playing with a camera his dad owned that had time-lapse capabilities, and researching similar projects online, the now 19-year-old said in an email to NBC News. “I wanted to be the first to create a time-lapse that shows growth and aging in a face. I started taking a selfie every single day, and never stopped."
Cornellier, who lives in Montreal, estimates he missed between 50 to 75 days total in the 7-year span on days when he was just too busy to squeeze it in. He is still taking selfies every day and plans to continue the project into the foreseeable future.
The video currently has more than 2 million views on YouTube. The teen said he's been overwhelmed by the messages he's received from around the globe from people who say he's inspired them. And the video remains just as powerful to Cornellier himself.
"For me, it’s still incredibly emotional watching it. I think about the different periods of my life and it just feels like I’m watching it go by all over again, or living it all over again."
— Jillian Sederholm