We modern folk are at ease with photographs. Thanks to (or cursed by) smartphone cameras, every aspect of our lives is photographed and shared with alarming ease. But for our 19th c. ancestors, photographs were serious business, involving a trip to a studio and best clothes for the occasion, a definitive record made for posterity. Considering how most ordinary people had their pictures taken only a few times during their lives, it was serious. (See here.) In addition, early photographic equipment required the sitter not to move for several minutes, and it was much easier to hold a solemn expression than a light-hearted one.
All of which makes this series of pictures all the more special. This fond couple clearly began their sitting with the best of intentions. But before long, the lady succumbs to the giggles, and the gentleman happily follows.
I wonder what set her off. Did her partner whisper something sly and teasing behind his moustache? Did his stomach rumble? Did the photographer trip and fall, or did someone else in the room make a funny face or otherwise misbehave? We'll never know for sure, and it doesn't really matter - it's still a charming moment of delicious silliness, preserved for all time.
I wish I could share more about these pictures. They were originally part of a set of vintage photographs on Flickr, but the original poster has since deleted it and disappeared. In the way of the internet, the image still lingers on tumblrs, websites, and Pinterest, but without any attribution. If anyone knows more about these two, I'll happily update.
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.