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Why Are People So Serious in Old Pictures?

added on: May 17, 2016
old photos

We’ve all seen the old black and white photos from the 1800s-1900s where all the people are dressed to the nines in big, flowy dresses and dapper suits. Legs are crossed, hands are resting formally in jacket pockets, and there’s not a smile in sight. At our West Caldwell dental office, we know this is completely opposite of what we see now, and we wanted to know what was up with the smileless pictures of days gone by.

Say Cheese! And Wait.

And wait… and wait… and keep waiting. Wait for about eight hours. That’s right. Eight whole hours was how long it took to take the world’s first picture. We know it’s impossible for a human to sit still for that long, which is why that specific picture wasn’t of a person. But as technology improved, the time decreased…but still not enough. Thirteen years after the very first photo was taken, the time to capture a picture was about fifteen minutes. That’s still a really long time for a person to sit still, but it was doable. However, try holding a grin without moving or changing your face for that long and you’ll see why smiling faces weren’t ever seen.

Things Were Different.

We can capture a photo anytime, anyplace nowadays, but back when our ancestors wanted to take a picture, it was quite the ordeal. A portrait session needed to be arranged, it was expensive, and it didn’t happen often. In fact, many people only had their picture taken a handful of times throughout their entire lives. This made getting a photograph a formal occasion. That’s why everyone wore those fancy dresses and suits. That’s also another reason why people may not have been smiling. It was a serious time, not a fun one.

Bad Teeth.

Dentistry wasn’t always so important. Treatments we think of today as common didn’t exist. If you had a cavity back then, your tooth was pulled. No crowns, no fillings, just smiles that were either in bad shape or missing several teeth. So even if the time it took to take a photo was less, and photography sessions were more fun, chances are people still wouldn’t have smiled for the camera out of embarrassment.  

Still Hiding Your Smile in Pictures?

We don’t want you to hide behind your taught lips, shielding your smile from the world. If you’re embarrassed by your teeth, there are a multitude of ways to transform your grin into the smile you’ve always wanted. Cosmetic dentistry treatments, tooth whitening, white fillings, and restorative care, just to name a few, can alter your look, and your life.

If you’re ready to take your smile to the next level, give our dental office in West Caldwell a call to schedule an appointment today. We’ll discuss what’s holding you back from smiling wide and talk about your dental health goals. Together, we’ll determine the best solutions for you.

Serving patients from West Caldwell, Fairfield, Roseland.

Posted In: Dental Articles

Drs. Mike & Tom Masella