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Your wedding day is supposed to be the happiest day of your life.
So why do these people look like they're going to a funeral?
But it wasn't just formal occasions.
It was teens, children, and lots of people with mustaches.
Why didn't people smile in old pictures?
The simplest explanation is exposure time.
That's basically how much light a camera needs to record an image.
The longer the shutter is open, the longer the film is exposed to light.
Early cameras and film did take longer, so the thinking's that it was easier to hold a serious expression than a smile a smile if you were waiting minutes for your portrait.
See this 1838 picture by Louis Daguerre?
It's blurry because it probably took 10-15 minutes to take.
All the people presumably moved during exposure — except for this bootblack and the guy getting his boots polished.
You'd pose for a normal picture and a blurry one came out.
But that problem was...fixed.
Rapid advances in film technology, as well as commercial availability, made it easier to take pictures quickly.
By the 1870s, bleeding edge photographers like Eadweard Muybridge were taking photographs that could split a second.
To understand the real reason old pictures were so serious, you have to understand what portraits meant to people back then.
Remember, before there were photos, portraits were…painted.
They were time-consuming, long-lasting, and one-of-a-kind.
That scarcity made the occasion pretty serious.
And that mentality carried over to early photographs.
Mark Twain, a professional humorist, said near the turn of the 20th century that...
"There is nothing more damning to go down to posterity than a silly, foolish smile caught and fixed forever."
This is a guy who wrote stories about jumping frogs.
But his viewpoint was typical.
Take, for example, the oddly popular practice of posing dead bodies for "lifelike portraits."
The photos weren't a snapshot.
They were a passage to immortality.
A record of one's existence.
By looking at the exceptions, it's easier to understand why most portraits were so grim.
There are lots of smiling Victorians, hiding in photo collections around the world.
As early as 1853, Mary Dillwyn captured a boy's smile on camera.
Victorians were not constantly miserable —they just usually got serious when they thought a portrait was being taken.
As cameras became more common and photography improved, aesthetics changed and smiles returned.
Later movies expanded the possibilities of recording real life.
Portraiture broke free from the technology and aesthetics of painting.
They discovered the possibilities of a new medium.
People always knew how to smile.
They just had to learn how to show it.
So one of my favorite old photographs was somebody smiling, actually comes from an early 1900s anthropological expedition to China.
It was taken by Berthold Laufer and the American Museum of Natural History has the photo.
Which is absolutely perfect.
This photo shows that the attitudes in old photographs really were about aesthetics, not technology.
And if you didn't have an idea of a how a photo should look like, it could look like anything.
And in this case, that is absolutely perfect
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看起來好嚴肅!老照片裡的人都不笑的原因? (Why people never smiled in old photos)

10068 分類 收藏
Rong Chiang 發佈於 2018 年 8 月 3 日    Rong Chiang 翻譯    審核
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