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Old Photos

Why, When You Look at Old Photos, is There Never Anyone Smiling?

Subjects in any old photos are not smiling at the camera for two reason.
In the early days of photography, there existed a tradition of formality handed down from portrait painting-in which posing for a photograph was considered a solemn occasion.

The second reason,prior to the 1880s, photographs required long exposures-so depending on the process, it could involve 20 minutes or more.

This necessitated the subject remaining still, and since maintaining a smile for such an extended period was difficult, it was discouraged.

The arrival of smiling faces in photos came after the invention of the snapshot in the 1880s with the introduction of the Kodak dry-plate camera.

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