,Recently, Kim lets us mere mortals know why she never smiles. Simply, it is bad for the complexion and creates wrinkles. But did you start thinking, why didn’t people ever smile in old photographs or paintings? (http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2014/12/why-kim-kardashian-never-smiles?utm_campaign=complexmag%2Bsocialflow%2B12%2B2014&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social)
Some had theorized it was because of their bad teeth or even due to long exposures needed at the time. These hardly hold up. First, everyone had bad teeth before modern dentistry; so they would not have been ashamed of the way they looked. Also, some people had great teeth yet they still did not smile. Secondly, the exposure times needed for a proper exposure were under 30 seconds by the mid-19th century. They no longer needed to hold the pose and smile for long.
Basically, the answer comes down to nothing having to do with beauty or technique. It had everything to do with decorum. It was considered foolish and stupid to smile. Therefore, everyone gave the mean face: “by the 17th century ‘it was a well-established fact that the only people who smiled broadly, in life and in art, were the poor, the lewd, the drunk, the innocent, and the entertainment.’” (Jeeves, Nicholas)
The next time you smile for a photo, please don’t take offense, but our ancestors would have thought us stupid or the entertainment. So, smile with a broad grin because what did they know? They thought the plague came from a pile of old rags.