British photographic history

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The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland which holds millions of images, many dating from the 1800s, have put a call out to the public on Twitter to find out your views on when and why we started smiling in photographs.

Did improved technology and shorter exposure times allow for more informal portraits? Did people become more relaxed with the process of being photographed? Was it a shift in society from the supposedly repressed Victorian era to the more playful Edwardian period? Or, as one tweet has suggested, did the photographers’ jokes just got better?

Have your say here: twitter.com/rcahms

Photo: Taken around 1900, this image of playful children at Lennoxlove in Fife shows an obvious depature from the formality and stiff positioning of studio portraits typical of the nineteenth century. This has often been attributed to the change in atmosphere from the Victorian to the Edwardian era, but may simply represent improvements in camera technology and familiarity with the process. DP074331

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