Old Photographs: Hidden Mothers

Posted December 13, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment

Since the camera was first invented, people have always desired to capture special moments in time to remember for years to come. Capturing the perfect family photo can often be difficult, especially when you have very young children. Even at the best of times, trying to get a baby to hold still for a photo can be an almost impossible task. But in today’s world, you have the luxury of taking multiple digital photographs until you can get it just right. However, this wasn’t always the case.

Back in the early days of photography, people had to stay still for long exposure times in order to get a clear image. What may seem like little time for an adult can feel like an eternity for a small child and getting a baby to sit still for a portrait in front of a camera lens long enough to capture a clear image would be very difficult.

Soon photographers learned a neat trick to get babies to sit still long enough to capture these early images. Mothers were strategically placed and hidden in the background to hold their babies still long enough for the photographer to captured their image. This practice was very common in the late 19th century and continued into the 1920s. 

Check out some of the inventive ways mothers have been hidden in photographs. Can you spot the mother?

Mothers were sometimes draped with fabric or disguised as furniture to give the effect that the child or children were posing in the portrait alone.

In the photo above, a black drape conceals this child’s mother to the left.

Other times mothers hid behind their children and tried to stay out of the picture.

Have you come across these types of photos in your family? What tricks have you learned to keep your wiggling children still in family photos?

Post written by Amanda

Amanda is the Social Media Coordinator at Geni. If you need any assistance, she will be happy to help!

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