Seriously, Smiles? December 13, 2016Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Happiness, Humor, People.
In old photos, dating back to the 1820’s, few subjects smiled.
Some have conjectured that the lack of smiles correlated with the lack of dental care . . . or the long exposure times.
A recent article in TIME magazine suggests that it had more to do with the mores of the day:
Experts say that the deeper reason for the lack of smiles early on is that photography took guidance from pre-existing customs in painting—an art form in which many found grins uncouth and inappropriate for portraiture. Though saints might be depicted with faint smiles, wider smiles were “associated with madness, lewdness, loudness, drunkenness, all sorts of states of being that were not particularly decorous,” says Trumble.
And since most photographs had professional photographers behind the lens, they called the shots:
. . . high-end studio photographers would create an elegant setting and direct the subject how to behave, producing the staid expressions which are so familiar in 19th century photographs. The images they created were formal and befitted the expense of paying to have a portrait made, especially when that portrait might be the only image of someone.
So when did we start smiling in photos?
With the rise of snapshot photography!
“Take the camera out of the professional and put it into the hands of the snapshot photographer and then they can do whatever they want” says Gustavson.
Aah . . . that’s better!