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The Evolution of the Yearbook Photo

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The Statistics

yearbook smiles study

Source: Shiry Ginosar/ UC Berkeley

Another reason why we might be smiling more than ever today has to do with the development of photography. Historian Christina Kotchemidova, who is cited in the study, reminds us that portraiture and early photography used to be lengthy and even arduous processes, so it was more comfortable to maintain a closed mouth than try to smile over an extended period of time.

Furthermore, turn of the century etiquette and beauty standards called for people to maintain composure, and while small mouths were seen as more beautiful, wide, open smiles were considered foolish (she references classical art, in which only drunkards and fools are depicted with toothy grins.)

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What do you think? Are we smiling more than ever? And should we stick to shouting “Cheese!” or return to the more proper “Prune”? See what they had to say on the Today show, and SHARE!

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