Victorian era gave us many great inventions that we still use today - bicycles, Morse code, ice cream as we know it, and even the telephone. The era of Queen Victoria's reign, though, had some pretty bizarre happenings too. Such as ladies getting stuck in doorways because of their extra big dress skirts and constantly fainting as a result of very tight corsets. Also, the London fog did exist, and it comprised of nothing else than heavy pollution from coal mines and the city being in regular fires. Victorians were oddly obsessed with Egyptology and makeup, especially lipstick, was compared to witchcraft. To add even more fun to the mix, the social rules and behavior codes were amazingly strict.
With life this pleasant, it's no wonder that nobody was smiling in the creepy pictures taken in the Victorian era. Everybody looks so severe that it seems as if people in the 1800s just didn't have the time, or strength to have fun. But as these rare vintage photos prove, that wasn't always the case.
There are many theories as to why Victorians always look so dour in pictures. Long exposure times made smiling difficult (and by long we mean several hours. Seriously. Ever tried smiling for several hours? It hurts) and the high cost of portraits gave people very little to smile about. Poor dental hygiene made people reluctant to show their teeth (or whatever teeth they had left), and let's not forget that many Victorians simply had it too rough a life to take funny pictures. But as you can see from the vintage photography exemplars below, some still found something to smile about. From gentlemen cross-dressing as fair ladies of the times, to probably the first awkward family photos in history, the few Victorians, who managed to have some fun, are all here. (h/t: whizzpast)
#1 A Victorian Couple Trying Not To Laugh While Getting Their Portraits Done, 1890s
#4 A Snow Lady, 1892
#5 Unusual Portrait Of A Victorian Lady, 1840