I wish people still took pictures liken they did in the (American) Civil War. No smiling, just sitting there as if they’re already dead, ramrod straight, showing the tragic bullshit and misery of regular life.
Then again, they just had tragedy and misery. We now have that plus YouTube comments and 24 hour news constantly reminding you of how shit things were. For them, there was a war every now and again, intermittent famine and the threat of disease. This in some sick way sounds more reasonable somehow.
This is a subject that has perplexed me to no end. It really has. Thankfully, Vox actually looked into it in more depth than I did. There were valid reasons for them not to smile, many of them technological. For us in Late Stage Capitalism Internet-land, we have probably just as many reasons to smile, yet don’t.