I always thought that the reason people look so grim in antique photos is because it would have been exhausting to hold a smile for long exposures that I imagined were required by ye olde cameras. Nope! From the always-informative Smithsonian magazine:
...Exposures from the early days of commercial photography only lasted about 5 to 15 seconds. The real reason is that, in the mid-19th century, photography was so expensive and uncommon that people knew this photograph might be the only one they’d ever have made. Rather than flash a grin, they often opted to look thoughtful and serious, a carry-over from the more formal conventions of painted portraiture, explains Ann Shumard, senior curator of photographs at the National Portrait Gallery.
According to Shumard, it wasn't until Eastman-Kodak founder George Eastman's 1888 invention of the mass market portable camera that informal snapshots of smiling people became common.
"Why Don’t People Smile in Old Photographs? And More Questions From Our Readers" (Smithsonian)
image: Eugene Pelletan portrait c.1855 by Gaspard-Félix Tournachon
This incredible offshore fortress and defense gun tower at Pembroke Dock, South West Wales, UK is for sale. It was built in 1851 and “designed to be operated by one officer and 33 men.” Offers above £70,000 will be entertained. From the real estate listing: The North East Dockyard Tower was originally built to accommodate […]
We're no strangers to the delights of the rude drawings that monks doodled in the margins of medieval manuscripts around here (1, 2, 3), but University of Bonn medievialist Erik Wade's epic Twitter thread on the astonishing variety of snail-doodles is genuinely next-level.
In 1905, Friedrich "Bone Spurs" Trump -- grandfather of Donald -- dodged the Bavarian draft and was ordered deported by Luitpold, the prince regent of Bavaria. Friedrich Trump sent Luitpold a letter groveling and begging not to be deported. Prince Luitpold deported him anyway.
If you suffer from sleep disorders, there are a number of methods out there to mitigate them: Ambient noisemakers, relaxation tapes, sleep masks, you name it. One thing that doesn’t get tried is headphones, for good reason. Even the smallest earbuds are liable to wake you up if you roll over the wrong way. Now […]
Looking to upgrade that old laptop or tablet? Holiday sales may be way on the horizon, but there’s an even better way to get like-new tech for a steal. Here are 10 of our favorite deals on personal computers and gaming gear – refurbished, renewed or brand new. Acer Touchscreen 11′ Chromebook 16GB (Certified Refurbished) […]
Vape technology has been around long enough that vapers are starting to get picky about their gear. Luckily, so are we. From disposable models to cutting-edge touchscreen atomizers, there’s a vaporizer in this roundup to suit every taste. Hera 2 – World’s Most Advanced Dual-Use Vaporizer Choose between dry herb or oil extraction modes – […]