Today it seems, everyone carries around at least one camera, all the time. They take pictures of their lunch, their dog and things lying on the ground. And "selfies" are the popular portrait today. With all that convenience it's easy to forget that in the early days of photography, getting your picture taken involved finding a photographer (within a half day's travel), going to his studio on a sunny day (by appointment only) and waiting a week (or maybe two) to see the resulting portrait.
In the studio, usually on the second floor over a hardware or grocery store, one had to sit very still for several seconds, without moving eyes or lips to get a sharp portrait. There were braces and stands to aid in holding a pose.
It was difficult with the slow film and clunky camera equipment and fidgety subjects, especially children.
Even more difficult were the group portraits, where everyone had to pose rigidly still, stare at a spot somewhere in the distance without blinking, clench the jaw to reduce facial movement and generally hold very still while the photographer removed the lens cap from his big box camera and counted off the exposure time in seconds before replacing it. It was quite a production.
On this page LOST GALLERY has collected some of those group photographs posed in the studio, mostly from the closing years of the 19th century.
This row is much later. You didn't have to hold still as long. See the baby in the last portrait
Sometimes a professional group portrait is not in a studio at all. It might be "on location" as the movie makers sometimes call it. It does not change the fact that it is a professionally arranged and photographed portrait. Here is one such portrait, not in the studio but certainly professional work.
Can't get enough? Watch this space!
Area 51 and a Half You are probably not authorized to see these.
Don't take my picture! Oh! You DID didn't you! This is a collection of photographs that usually disappeared on the way home from the photo processing shop.
And don't missCabinet Card GallerySquare AmericaTattered and LostVernacular PhotographyThe bestFOUND PHOTOGRAPHsites on the web. And for postcards try POSTCARDY Go see what's going on over at Sepia Saturday!
All images are the property of Lost Gallery and the author. Permission must be granted for their use. All rights reserved.
THE KIDS It is always a mystery how a photograph of any of these precious children could end up lost or abandoned. Here are a few. You will probably say "Ooh..." at least once.