Woman With Fan, Waynesville, NC - 2013
(Click on photo to enlarge.)
I fired up the time machine Saturday and headed back to the 1860s to take some pictures. Well, actually I fired up a Ford Ranger and headed over to the Shelton House Museum for the Civil War Commemorative Weekend. There were demonstrations and talks on various aspects of Civil War life, but what I enjoy most is photographing people in period costumes.
This woman was part of a fashion show demonstrating the clothing worn in the 1860s. I thought she looked very authentic except for her slight smile. Do you ever notice that people didn't smile in photos from that era? Supposedly it was because the long exposure times of early cameras made it almost impossible to hold a smile that long. That was true of the earliest cameras, but by the 1860s exposure times had decreased from minutes to mere seconds. Two or three seconds seems like an eternity by today's standards, but it's really not that long for a smile. My theory is that it was the clothes. I don't know many women who would be smiling too often if they had to wear all that in the heat and humidity of a southern summer. I doubt that fan helped much.