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Your wedding day is supposed to
to
X
be the happiest day of
of
X
your life.
Your wedding day is supposed to be the happiest day of your life.
Your
wedding
day
is
supposed
to
be
the
happiest
day
of
your
life
So why do these people look like
like
X
they're going to
to
X
a funeral? But it wasn't just formal
So why do these people look like they're going to a funeral
funeral
X
? But it wasn't just formal
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
of
X
people with
with
X
mustaches. Why didn’t people smile in
in
X
old pictures?
occasions. It was teens
teens
X
, children, and lots of people with mustaches. Why didn’t people smile in old pictures?
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. The simplest explanation is exposure time
exposure time
X
.
The
simplest
explanation
is
exposure
time
That's basically how much light a camera needs to
to
X
record an image.
That's basically how much light a camera needs to record an image.
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
to
X
light.
The longer the shutter
shutter
X
is open, the longer the film is exposed
exposed
X
to light.
The
longer
the
shutter
is
open
the
longer
the
film
is
exposed
to
light
Early cameras and film took longer, so the thinking’s that it was easier to hold a serious expression than
than
X
a smile
Early cameras and film took longer, so the thinking’s that it was easier to hold a serious expression than a smile
Early
cameras
and
film
took
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
for
X
your portrait. See this 1838 picture by
by
X
Louis Daguerre?
a smile if you were waiting minutes for your portrait
portrait
X
. See this 1838 picture by Louis Daguerre?
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. It’s blurry
blurry
X
because it probably took 10-15 minutes to take.
It’s
blurry
because
it
probably
took
10-15
minutes
to
take
All the people presumably moved during
during
X
exposure — except
except
X
for
for
X
this bootblack and the guy getting his boots polished.
All the people presumably
presumably
X
moved during exposure — except for this bootblack
bootblack
X
and the guy getting his boots polished
polished
X
.
All
the
people
presumably
moved
during
exposure
except
for
this
bootblack
and
the
guy
getting
his
boots
polished
You’d pose for
for
X
a normal picture and a blurry one came out.
You’d pose
pose
X
for a normal picture and a blurry
blurry
X
one came out.
You’d
pose
for
a
normal
picture
and
a
blurry
one
came
out
But that problem was...fixed. But that problem was...fixed.
But
that
problem
wasfixed
Rapid advances in
in
X
film technology, as
as
X
well as
as
X
commercial availability, made it
Rapid
Rapid
X
advances in film technology, as well as commercial availability
commercial availability
X
, made it
Rapid
advances
in
film
technology
as
well
as
commercial
availability
made
it
easier to
to
X
take pictures quickly.
easier to take pictures quickly.
easier
to
take
pictures
quickly
By the 1870s, bleeding edge photographers like
like
X
Eadweard Muybridge were taking photographs that could split a second.
By the 1870s, bleeding edge photographers like Eadweard Muybridge were taking photographs that could split a second.
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
to
X
understand
To understand the real reason old pictures were so serious, you have to understand
To
understand
the
real
reason
old
pictures
were
so
serious
you
have
to
understand
what portraits meant to
to
X
people back then.
what portraits meant to people back then.
what
portraits
meant
to
people
back
then
Remember, before
before
X
there were photos, portraits were….painted.
Remember, before there were photos, portraits were….painted.
Remember
before
there
were
photos
portraits
werepainted
They were time-consuming, one- of
of
X
-a-kind. That scarcity made the occasion pretty serious.
They were time-consuming
time-consuming
X
, one-of-a-kind. That scarcity
scarcity
X
made the occasion pretty serious.
They
were
time-consuming
one-of-a-kind
That
scarcity
made
the
occasion
pretty
serious
And that mentality carried over
over
X
to early photographs. Mark Twain, a professional humorist,
And that mentality
mentality
X
carried over to early photographs. Mark Twain, a professional humorist
humorist
X
,
And
that
mentality
carried
over
to
early
photographs
Mark
Twain
a
professional
humorist
said near
near
X
the turn of
of
X
the 20th century that
said near the turn of the 20th century that
said
near
the
turn
of
the
20th
century
that
“...there is nothing more damning to
to
X
go down
down
X
to
to
X
posterity than
than
X
a silly, foolish smile caught and fixed forever.”
“...there is nothing more damning to go down to posterity
posterity
X
than a silly, foolish smile caught and fixed forever.”
“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
about
X
jumping frogs. But his viewpoint was typical.
This is a guy who wrote stories about jumping frogs. But his viewpoint
viewpoint
X
was typical.
This
is
a
guy
who
wrote
stories
about
jumping
frogs
But
his
viewpoint
was
typical
Take, for
for
X
example, the oddly popular practice of
of
X
posing dead bodies for
for
X
“lifelike portraits.”
Take, for example, the oddly
oddly
X
popular practice of posing dead bodies for “lifelike portraits.”
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
of
X
one’s existence.
The photos weren’t a snapshot
snapshot
X
. They were a passage to immortality
immortality
X
. A record of one’s existence.
The
photos
weren’t
a
snapshot
They
were
a
passage
to
immortality
A
record
of
one’s
existence
By looking at
at
X
the exceptions, it’s easier to
to
X
understand why most portraits were so grim.
By looking at the exceptions, it’s easier to understand why most portraits were so grim
grim
X
.
By
looking
at
the
exceptions
it’s
easier
to
understand
why
most
portraits
were
so
grim
There are lots of
of
X
smiling Victorians, hiding in photo collections around
around
X
the world.
There are lots of smiling Victorians, hiding in photo collections around the world.
There
are
lots
of
smiling
Victorians
hiding
in
photo
collections
around
the
world
As early as
as
X
1853, Mary Dillwyn captured a boy’s smile on
on
X
camera.
As early as 1853, Mary Dillwyn captured a boy’s smile on camera.
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 Victorians were not constantly miserable —they just usually got serious when they
Victorians
were
not
constantly
miserable
—they
just
usually
got
serious
when
they
thought a portrait was being taken. As cameras became more common and thought a portrait
portrait
X
was being taken. As cameras became more common and
thought
a
portrait
was
being
taken
As
cameras
became
more
common
and
photography improved, aesthetics changed and smiles returned. Later movies expanded photography improved, aesthetics
aesthetics
X
changed and smiles returned. Later movies expanded
photography
improved
aesthetics
changed
and
smiles
returned
Later
movies
expanded
the possibilities of
of
X
recording real life. Portraiture broke free from
from
X
the
the possibilities of recording real life. Portraiture broke free from the
the
possibilities
of
recording
real
life
Portraiture
broke
free
from
the
technology and aesthetics of
of
X
painting. They discovered the possibilities of
of
X
a
technology and aesthetics
aesthetics
X
of painting. They discovered the possibilities of a
technology
and
aesthetics
of
painting
They
discovered
the
possibilities
of
a
new medium. People always knew how to
to
X
smile. They just had to
to
X
learn how to
to
X
show it.
new medium
new medium
X
. People always knew how to smile. They just had to learn how to show it.
new
medium
People
always
knew
how
to
smile
They
just
had
to
learn
how
to
show
it
So one of
of
X
my favorite old photographs was somebody smiling, actually comes from
from
X
an early 1900s
So one of my favorite old photographs was somebody smiling, actually comes from an early 1900s
So
one
of
my
favorite
old
photographs
was
somebody
smiling
actually
comes
from
an
early
1900s
anthropological expedition to China. It was taken by
by
X
Berthold Laufer and the American Museum of
of
X
Natural History
anthropological
anthropological
X
expedition to China. It was taken by Berthold Laufer and the American Museum of Natural History
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
in
X
old photographs really were
has the photo. Which is absolutely perfect. This photo shows that the attitudes in old photographs really were
has
the
photo
Which
is
absolutely
perfect
This
photo
shows
that
the
attitudes
in
old
photographs
really
were
about
about
X
aesthetics, not technology. And if you didn't have an idea of
of
X
a how a photo should look like
like
X
, it could look like
like
X
anything.
about aesthetics
aesthetics
X
, not technology. And if you didn't have an idea of a how a photo should look like, it could look like anything.
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
in
X
this case, that is absolutely perfect.
And in this case, that is absolutely perfect.
And
in
this
case
that
is
absolutely
perfect

/

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