Smile for the camera ... or not — vintage 1800s photographs show fascinating difference in style

Smile for the camera … or maybe not. These fascinating wedding photographs from the 1800s show just how different the approach to shooting one’s special day was two centuries ago.

Along with the lack of pearly whites on display, the emotionless, sepia-hued images predominantly show no touching between couples.

The images are on display as part of an exhibit, “I Do, I Do,” at the Ricco/Maresca Gallery in New York. The exhibit runs through Sept. 9, 2017. (Caters News)

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Smile for the camera … or not — vintage 1800s photographs show fascinating difference in style

These fascinating wedding photographs from the 1800s show just how different the approach to shooting one’s special day was two centuries ago. (Pictured: Vintage wedding portraits from “I Do, I Do” exhibit)

Smile for the camera … or not — vintage 1800s photographs show fascinating difference in style

Co-owner Frank Maresca came up with the idea for the exhibit having initially considered creating a book with the same name. (Pictured: Vintage wedding portraits from “I Do, I Do” exhibit)

Smile for the camera … or not — vintage 1800s photographs show fascinating difference in style

He said: “What we see is two people about to jump into a void in a very workman-like fashion.” (Pictured: Vintage wedding portraits from “I Do, I Do” exhibit)

Smile for the camera … or not — vintage 1800s photographs show fascinating difference in style

“The images are almost lacking in emotion — or rather steeped with very restrained emotions, and it’s those that create a compelling body of work.” (Pictured: Vintage wedding portraits from “I Do, I Do” exhibit)

Smile for the camera … or not — vintage 1800s photographs show fascinating difference in style

“These were marriages of convenience, survival and financial sense; young healthy people in the late 19th century were expected to get married because the clockwork of society revolved around the institution.” (Pictured: Vintage wedding portraits from “I Do, I Do” exhibit)

Smile for the camera … or not — vintage 1800s photographs show fascinating difference in style

“Today, most people marry for love, or at least that’s the way it is in the Western world.” (Pictured: Vintage wedding portraits from “I Do, I Do” exhibit)

Smile for the camera … or not — vintage 1800s photographs show fascinating difference in style

The majority of the images, Frank said, were sourced from flea markets in New York City and online stores.(Pictured: Vintage wedding portraits from “I Do, I Do” exhibit)

Smile for the camera … or not — vintage 1800s photographs show fascinating difference in style

It’s a genre that was popularized by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who married in 1840, with Victoria wearing a white dress. (Pictured: Vintage wedding portraits from “I Do, I Do” exhibit)

Smile for the camera … or not — vintage 1800s photographs show fascinating difference in style

Their nuptial portrait — first a painting and then a photograph in which the couple re-created the day, 14 years later — popularized the iconography among non-royals and the general worldwide population, becoming more commonplace in the late 1800s. (Pictured: Vintage wedding portraits from “I Do, I Do” exhibit)

Smile for the camera … or not — vintage 1800s photographs show fascinating difference in style

Many of the cabinet cards of couples date from between 1875 and 1895. The collection will be on display through Sept. 9, 2017. (Pictured: Vintage wedding portraits from “I Do, I Do” exhibit)

Smile for the camera … or not — vintage 1800s photographs show fascinating difference in style

An interesting note about the photographs that Frank was able to discover is that many came from Wisconsin, where perhaps the trend of wedding photography, albeit different from today in style, first caught on in America.(Pictured: Vintage wedding portraits from “I Do, I Do” exhibit)

Smile for the camera … or not — vintage 1800s photographs show fascinating difference in style

The earliest photographs of people smiling do, in fact, predate the images in the exhibit, but for wedding photographs it was commonplace for people to look stoic — perhaps for technical reasons, as images had to be shot on long exposures. (Pictured: Vintage wedding portraits from “I Do, I Do” exhibit)

Smile for the camera … or not — vintage 1800s photographs show fascinating difference in style

Frank said: “I would say that while some individual cabinet cards are fascinating in and of themselves, the thing that really interested me was the collection of 100 works and finding the subtle differences between images.”(Pictured: Vintage wedding portraits from “I Do, I Do” exhibit)

Smile for the camera … or not — vintage 1800s photographs show fascinating difference in style

Frank said, “[Note] the posture of the bride and groom, the placement of their hands, their dress and expressions.” (Pictured: Vintage wedding portraits from “I Do, I Do” exhibit)

Smile for the camera … or not — vintage 1800s photographs show fascinating difference in style

“As a whole, the collection is a snapshot — or a “film” — of married life about to happen, and relationships in the process of being formed, in the late 19th century.” (Pictured: Vintage wedding portraits from “I Do, I Do” exhibit)