Thursday, February 24, 2005
I've often wondered why the families in portrait photographs from the mid-1800s always seem slightly unreal. Apparently because of the limited amount of light in photographic studios, the subjects would have their faces covered in white make up to reflect better in the camera. So that the subjects could keep perfectly still, a brace was used to hold the waist of the woman in the chair or any children standing by in place. The other reason that family isn't smiling is because to do so would seem foolish because they'd be making fun of something which was massively expensive at the time. Also -- and this explains everything -- the subjects often had their eye lids closed during the taking of the photo and their eyes would be painted in later when the image was printed which is why the iris never looks quite right.