These Rare Photos Will Change Your Perception of the Victorian Times

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rare photos victorian times

Victorian Times could be considered one of the most misunderstood periods in history.

Every time we talk about a period in history, there is a danger of falling into a trap of popular beliefs and clichés. Preconceived notions are indeed dangerous, which is why researching and understanding an era is by no means easy.

The most difficult part is to understand the lives of ordinary people whose names cannot be found in the history books, who are often forgotten and lost to us because we don’t have any information about who they were or what their lives were like.

These rare pictures from the Victorian times show people as they are – funny, goofy and full of joy.

One of the most misunderstood periods in history is the Victorian times because we often associate this era with imperialism, colonial wars, puritanism and similar phenomena that seem long gone and deeply buried in the past. Historical facts, on the other hand, suggest a different story, a story of an early industrial society that strived to solve its inequalities and marched bravely into  the future.

Queen Victoria near the end of her reign

Queen Victoria near the end of her reign in 1892

Queen Victoria’s rule began in 1837 when she was only 18, and spanned over 64 years, until her death in 1901. The term Victorian was first used during The Great Exhibition in London in 1851 to describe the latest achievements of The British Empire. This was the time of Charles Dickens, Michael Faraday and Charles Darwin, the great minds that laid the foundations of modernism and set the course our civilization has taken. It was a peaceful time, disrupted only by a Crimean war and that is why the culture could flourish.

But despite it all, we remember it as a time of rigid rules, high morality, seriousness, religious confrontations and the most ridiculous fashion the world has seen in the last 200 years. Victorian times were a period of many contradictions in which God loving people faced prostitutes on the streets of London and children were forced to work unreasonably long hours while others were protesting for the rights of children. Social issues were countless and included poor medical care, relatively short life expectancy and sometimes horrid working conditions. If you have ever seen photos from the Victorian era, the majority of them reflects just that. Nobody is smiling as if their lives were just endless misery and pain. In the midst of it all, there was a place for family, compassion, romantics and fun.

Just two years after the Victorian times began, an invention changed the world  forever. In 1839, the first photo-camera was constructed and in no time, the entire world was in love with it. Because the technology was still developing, it was almost impossible to make a photo outside of a studio. As a result, in these early days of photography, making a portrait required the models to be perfectly still because even a minor movement could create a motion blur.

I can’t even imagine the torture these people went through just to get their portraits done. A process of taking a picture could sometimes take hours, due to long exposures, so smiling was often out of the question. I know that I can’t smile longer than five minutes without feeling absolutely ridiculous.

As the technology developed, it became easier and cheaper to take a photo and by the end of the century, you didn’t really need a photographer to take a picture of your loved ones because the first box cameras allowed you to just point and shoot. As the 19th century progressed, people were becoming more relaxed in front of the camera, from time to time, so relaxed that they allowed their humorous spirit to surface.

So let’s take a look at some of the pictures from the Victorian times that completely change the idea of the period and show the people who are having fun, laugh, goofing around or are just being human.

Like this couple, that can stop laughing.

rare photos victorian times

Apparently making a piggy nose was a thing.

rare photos victorian times

As well as these state of the art cup holders.

rare photos victorian times

Duck face was cool long before Instagram, as this photo shows.

rare photos victorian times

Tsar Nicholas II is not being very royal but looks very human.

rare photos victorian times

Vacation photos are always the best, aren’t they?

rare photos victorian times

Who said gymnastics isn’t fun?

rare photos victorian times

Making a snowman isn’t fun, let’s make a snowwoman.

rare photos victorian times

Is that my nose? I think I can see it.

rare photos victorian times

Levitation was a common technique among the Victorians.

rare photos victorian times

Children were always cute and mischievous.

rare photos victorian times

Duck face is okay, but what is this thing on his head? Or is it her head?

rare photos victorian times

There is nothing so heartwarming like a family pile.

rare photos victorian times

These good-looking ladies are actually gentlemen who studied at Yale.

rare photos victorian times

Fashion victims are common in all historical periods.

rare photos victorian times

I seriously am not sure if this guy is happy or angry.

rare photos victorian times

And a goofy lady at the end.

rare photos victorian times

H/T: Bored Panda

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Zeljko D.

Željko D. is an art historian and an artist. He balances between his work as a writer and a photographer. He is probably at his best when he combines words and images. Željko is known for his passion for underground art. He has collaborated with a number of respected art institutions and likes to share creative energy with others. His view may be avant-garde but deep down he is a book-loving guy who enjoys researching and constantly discovers new things.




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By | 2017-01-13T21:48:04+00:00 June 10th, 2016|Categories: History & Archaeology, Weird & Unbelievable Facts|Tags: , , |2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Otto Bhan June 18, 2016 at 2:42 pm - Reply

    Uh, yah, those photos are pricelessly informative.
    Kudos to you!

  2. Slimnotskinny June 25, 2016 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    Sitting very still so as to not create a blurry picture…and yet, having a clear, undistorted picture of some jumping into the air…?
    Explain that pic.

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These Rare Photos Will Change Your Perception of the Victorian Times