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The photograph is simply labeled “Willy.” It features a young man with close-cropped hair and dressed in fine clothing, including a collared shirt and jacket. Willy is looking at something amusing off to his right, and the photograph captured just the hint of a smile from him—the first ever recorded, according to experts at the National Library of Wales.

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A photograph of William Mansel (1838-1866) smiling at something off camera. Taken c.1853. (National Library of Wales)
 

(VINTAGE EVERYDAY)


Edited by Thesauron
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A little bit like the Mona Lisa  in that it is quite enigmatic.

I think it's a lovely smile. You might wonder what the 18 year old boy is thinking about or looking at. Is he thinking about his silly aunt taking a "photo", and what is a "photo" anyway? He's clearly dressed up. For the occasion, or is he going some place?


Johan
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There's some old pictures from past eras, some taken around about the same time of this picture (so I'm unsure about the validity of the claim of this being the "first smile in camera") which show people were not so different back then to how we are today. When looking at Victorian pictures and alike we tend to think they were boring without humour or fun. 

 

http://www.boredpanda.com/funny-victorian-era-photos-silly-vintage-photography/

 

Rather enlightening. 


Edited by EccentricM
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5 hours ago, SheyZ said:

I was always told that when cameras were originally invented you had to keep a straight face in order for the picture to develop properly.

Sent from my LG-H901 using Tapatalk
 

I think that was the case with early cameras as they too a little while to take. So if you moved, it would ruin the process. It was easier to keep a straight face for a long time rather than to smile. 

 

The same with old portraits. This became a social construct as time went by, even with cameras that were snap shot, people thought it would be silly to smile for a photo. 

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  • 1 month later...
On 2017-08-02 at 1:12 PM, EccentricM said:

I think that was the case with early cameras as they too a little while to take. So if you moved, it would ruin the process. It was easier to keep a straight face for a long time rather than to smile. 

 

The same with old portraits. This became a social construct as time went by, even with cameras that were snap shot, people thought it would be silly to smile for a photo. 

I imagine this boy must have been a pathological smiler, then...

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