Friday, May 15, 2015

Creepy is always interesting.

  1. Globally more people own a cell phone than own a toilet. 

    Granted that stat is per the UN but before you dismiss the report, Forbes backed it up. You have to trust the money magazine, right?

    In August 2013, users uploaded 350 million photos to Facebook everyday and Facebook contained a 240 billion photos.

    A substantial portion of those have to be selfies and a substantial portion of selfies have to be in questionable circumstances, memorialized forever on the world wide web. 

    Youth plus digital imaging plus social media . . .

    I thought we would look at Victoria photography because more than a few photos memorialize questionable and creepy circumstances. 

    Wax Figures
    after a fire at the Wax Museum
    Creepy is always interesting, right?

    It didn't take long for someone to take erotic photos. Predictable but that isn't the really creepy part.

    Victorian photography required sitting absolutely still for about 30 seconds.  If you aren't familiar with children and their behavior, I'll let you in on a secret. Kids don't like to sit still.

    Wiggling was solved by "Hidden Mother" portraits. The moms hid under fabric and pretended they were invisible while they restrained their kids.

    Result? Pretty creepy!!

    The 30 second freeze also limited photobombing. When you do run across a Victorian photobomb, they tend to look sinister.

    Improved photographic equipment made photo manipulation possible. If haven't already guessed, the themes tended to be . . .  yeah . . . creepy!

    In addition to creepy, Victorians loved the occult and the supernatural.  Women who were thought to be a necromancer or a clairvoyant had a shot at some financial independence. Independence, financial or otherwise, was not an underlying theme for the Victorians.

    Photos of ghosts and mythical creatures fueled the search for a macabre and the finances for seances. 

    The photographs of the Cottingley fairies were controversial and famous. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes thought they were authentic and wrote several magazine articles about them. 

    They weren't officially declared a fraud until 1970s.

    The creepiest Victorian tradition? It involves death, funeral protocol and The Queen. 

    If you don't know about the Victorians, think of hippies and then think of everything hippies would protest. Bingo. 

    Everything was elaborately structured. Simple activities took 20 extra steps and required a range of unnecessary products. 

    They dressed for dinner, embraced high tea etiquette an invented dozens of accessories for mustaches.

    Queen Victoria made mourning the dead a popular event. After Prince Albert died, The Queen wore "widow weeds" until she died forty years later. Forty years! She was a bit uptight.

    Protocol required that all the women in the house wore black. For the first three months, the women wore a heavy crepe bonnet with a long veil. 

    The widow was expected to wear mourning for at least two years but it wasn't uncommon for windows to never wear color again. 

    I would not have done well in Victorian times.

    When women started a period of mourning, they wore jewelry made from Jet Black (fossilized coal) which made the trade in Jet Black very profitable.  

    After mourning for some time, women could wear hair jewelry. Yes, HAIR jewelry. Before the deceased was buried, the women collected locks of hair. 

    Women magazines carried elaborate patters for making hair jewelry.

    However, hands down, the creepiest Victorian photographs were ones with dead bodies posed to look alive.

    The dead were propped up with special stands and it wasn't uncommon for the entire family to pose with the deceased. CREEPY!! 

    Photos of the dead fell out of favor when people started to die in hospitals instead of at home. In addition, mortuary services became more accessible and funerals moved out the home parlor. 

    Small, portable cameras made snapshots popular. Formal portraits of the living and the dead and people with no heads became passé.

    While Victorian creepiness faded away, we replaced it with global cyber creepiness.

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