Picture Power: Proof that Victorians weren’t as serious as you thought

“A photograph is a most important document, and there is nothing more damning to go down to posterity than a silly, foolish smile caught and fixed forever. “ —Mark Twain

Vacation sports at the seaside, 1897

I don’t have to tell you that Victorians aren’t exactly known for their broad smiles and light-hearted humor. Unlike today, smiling for a photo simply wasn’t a thing that people did, as Mark Twain exemplifies in the quote above. This lack of friendly grins has somewhat influenced how we view Victorians from our modern perspective, perhaps making them seem more stuffy and grave than they actually were.

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