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Odd Wisconsin Archive

Why Are These Women Smiling?


Photography has become ubiquitous, with digital cameras hidden in cell phones and bulging from shirt pockets. It's easy to forget that having one's picture taken was once an important event; and of course for most of the 20th century, everyone set in front of a camera was instructed to smile. These Ho-Chunk women who posed in the studio of Charles Van Schaick in Black River Falls in 1915 knew the routine, as did this 1920 housewife peeling carrots and her ax-wielding contemporary in Cross Plains. In a world crowded with so much tragedy and fear, we would all do well to remember to smile whenever the opportunity arises - - not just at a camera, but at one another.
:: Posted in Curiosities on July 8, 2005
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