These Photos Are Proof That Victorians Weren't As Stuffy As We Thought

Smiling in photographs has become such a regular occurrence that it's hard to image doing anything else in front of a camera. Since cameras come standard on every cell phone (unless you're still holding onto your Zach Morris-style brick), it's easier than ever to take pictures of friends, family, and yourself, 24/7. Unfortunately, this wasn't always the case.

Portraits used to be a big deal, and those lucky enough to have them made took them pretty seriously. This might explain why everyone in the 1800s looked so prim and proper in their portraits. You see, a photograph was the most official form of identification you could have, and no one would have ever dared to turn theirs into a mockery by smiling. Not to mention, taking photos during the Victorian era required a lot of time - we're talking hours of sitting still. Can you imagine trying to hold a smile for that long? Ouch. Pair this with poor oral hygiene and it's no wonder our Victorian ancestors weren't willing to "say cheese."

Believe it or not, though, some photos have emerged from the 1800s that actually showcase a lighter side of life back then. From goofing around outside to making silly faces, these 19 photos prove that not everyone in the 19th century was as stuffy as we thought.

1. This Victorian couple couldn't resist laughing in the photo booth.


2. That's one way to serve tea ...



3. Even Victorians could dance better than Drake.

Historic UK

4. This would have made a delightfully awkward Christmas card photo.

Bored Panda

5. "Whatever you do, don't sneeze!"


6. Three Yale students dressed in drag, 1883.

Huffington Post


7. Even their snowmen were more distinguished than ours.

The Strand Magazine

8. This must have been the 19th century's take on "duck lips."

State Archive

9. When you unlock your phone and the front-facing camera is on:

Bored Panda

10. Tsar Nicholas II being a goofball in the garden.

State Archive

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