Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Say Cheese!!

Contemplating the tradition of smiling in photographs.  I don't have time to do a load of laundry, but I have time for this.

It seems odd for us to look back at antique photographs and seeing the grim, unsmiling faces of our ancestors.  Of course, we've heard how they were required to sit still for much longer than we do, but the expressions are so drab, I have to assume that it never occurred to them TO smile.  'And why should it?  Capture what I look like, not me making some false mug!'

So when did the smiling start?  Was the first smiling photograph a fluke?  Someone's photo snapped while laughing at a joke.  Or did it start with people who were quite jovial in life, and a picture of them not-smiling would have made them look odd?

I believe that along with the technology for a quick photo, people were becoming accustomed to seeing themselves in photos, and realized that people look the best when they are smiling.

Are all people being photographed happy at the time?  No!  But they will pretend to be even for a photo.
No one pretends to be more sad than they are in a photo.  (I mean, not REALLY).  So It's kind of nice to realize that universally everyone has sort of agreed that everyone wants to smile, and remember the times when they are smiling.  No one is at a funeral saying, "hey, take a picture of how sad I am!"  (I've seen funeral pictures... and people smile even in those)

'When I look back at my life, I want to think I was having a great time ALL the time!'

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