Monday, August 20, 2012

the hidden mother

when i first saw these types of photographs i was fascinated.  were they in mourning?  what exactly was going on? turns out these somewhat creepy pictures of "the hidden mother" were just a solution to the technology of the time.

the first photographic images in the late 1820s had to be exposed for hours in order to capture anything on film (this explains the stiff posture & unsmiling faces of the victorian sitter who had to remain perfectly still while the photograph was being taken).  because children (and the occasional pet) were less than likely to sit still for a photograph, mothers would cover themselves in blankets, rugs, curtains etc. (some even camouflaged as chairs or sofas) while holding the child still.

eventually the photograph would be framed & matted (see the last photo) & the mother would be cropped out.  seeing them today without that framing, they look super spooky & mysterious.

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