Posted by: grand22b | October 26, 2012

Victorian Photography

I find this video amusing. It is somewhat educational. The shop in the video has a large collection of Victorian photographs. When the guy comments on the childrens’ serious faces, I was reminded of the portraits because people were generally serious in the paintings as well.


  1. I worked for a traditional photographer a few years back and the storeroom reminds me of his collection, boxes of contact sheets and photographs, millions of negatives…a career in grey archival boxes. I would sit for hours touching up imperfections in the photographs with watered down ink. Brings back memories.

  2. This was fun to watch. There is a technology being used today which is meant to conjure up the past. Photographs are turned into what appear to be rich oil-paintings. My daughters gave me a beautiful “canvas” of a “painting” of MHC’s main gate and Mary Lyon Hall. A friend of mine took the picture for them and e-mailed it. They in turn e-mailed the photo to this company, and what I got in the mail was this beautiful painting. The colors re deep and rich and it does look like a real painting. If someone wants a painted portrait of herself and cannot afford it, I suppose this is the next best thing?

  3. Thanks, Brenda. I thought this was more than mildly amusing. It was also fascinating to see what it was actually like to have your photo taken in the 1800s. A lot of hokey studios allow you to dress up in Victorian costume and will make sepia-toned prints. The print quality is usually anachronistically sharp and even. But mostly the product looks a lot like other old photos. I never really thought about how different the process behind the images. This video drove home the point that getting your likeness made was really an event. Not just because you dressed up–but because there were lights, and sounds, and explosions, and smells. We tend to think of photos as capturing a moment, but this made me think about the in photo studios such as these, the act of snapping a photo creates a moment.

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