Snapshots of the Century
From pyramid walls to castle halls, artists captured the likenesses of families for posterity. With the invention of photography in the mid-1800s, any family of modest means could have a photograph taken. With the revolution in amateur photography early this century, anyone could become the family historian. As the decades passed, the occasion for taking a family photo has grown more and more casual. Formal portraits have given way to candid snapshots.Skip to next paragraph
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Now Americans are in the throes of another revolution in recording family histories. Teachers must set aside a section for videographers at any class play or event. Digital cameras and the Internet instantly deliver images of a teenager's Kool-Aid-green hairdo to friends and family. Christmas-card portraits are being supplanted by computer-assembled full-color montages of the year's events.
One thing, at least, probably has not changed. As you look at these 20th-century photographs from the perspective of the almost-21st, you can still imagine someone standing in front of each of these family groups. Someone who, an instant before he or she snapped the shutter, said: "OK, everybody - smile!"
You can view past installments of this series on our Web site. See: www.csmonitor.com/snapshots.html
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society