A family is one of the central values in a person's life. For centuries, people have tried to preserve this value for themselves and relatives through photographs, to tell the history of their family so that their descendants would know what they looked like and how they lived, how wealthy they were, what circle they belonged to and so forth. Such a possibility appeared in the middle of the 19th century with the invention of photography.
Originally family photography is a chronicle. This is a way to show your descendants to your relatives. All the pictures are priceless, and they tell us something. Everything seems to be perfect in the family portraits – hairstyle, clothes, staging, and lighting. There is minimum or no colors, nevertheless, the look soulful and filled with meaning.
150 years ago when the first photography studios started to open, people would come as a family to make the reproductions of their likeness, and the process was similar to painting except that there was no color. The process took a lot of time because the models had to sit at least ten minutes motionless or stand still to achieve the correct exposure. Therefore, the composition was thought through with high precision by the photographer and every detail conveyed meaning, as in painting.
At the dawn of the family photography, the cost of the photo session was high, and only wealthy people could afford this luxury. They prepared carefully for family portraits – clothes were chosen not for aesthetic reasons, but to show the history of their family, preserve the details of their lives. Headgear, props, beards, gestures, poses can tell a lot about the history of the family, the fashion of those times, the relationship between family members.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the technology reached such a level of development that it was possible to take cameras outdoors. Photographers got the opportunity to build compositions not only in the photo studio but also at home. At this stage of family photography development, more people began to gather in one place, they were photographed near their home with significant things. They selected clothes in a way that showed their attitude to the fashion of those times, reflected the nature of their craft or work.
Now we look differently at photographs of the last century, our childhood photos, and family portraits, and pay attention to details that did not seem significant to us at the time of snapping the shot.
Once upon a time, photography was a luxury. Now it is available to everyone. Modern digital photography allows you to take photos of anything at any time and in any quantity. It helps you catch the moment and capture emotions. Classical photography, on the other hand, is static, detail-oriented, carefully thought through. And if you combine the best features of these two concepts, you can create high-quality photographs and with their help convey significant details, history, and uniqueness of the moment to the future generations. The value of such family portraits will increase with each successive generation. Because without photographs those visual memories would be lost forever.