為什麼老照片中的人不微笑?

By: Jim Mathis

身為一個老照片的專家,我經常問人為什麼老照片裡面的人都不笑?事實上,關於這個問題的答案有三種可能。第一是因為當時照相機快門的速度比照像的速度慢,所以人要維持同一個姿勢好幾秒。第二個是因為當時的牙齒保健不太好,因此人們不想露出牙齒來。

第一個原因某方面來說是有可能的,但是第二個原因則不大可能。還有第三種可能的解釋,也是最有可能的答案,那就是:在照相時,「笑」被認為是很沒有品味的。以下的節錄是三百年前的人怎麼看這件事情:

「有些人把他們的上嘴唇抬得高高的,牙齒幾乎都露出來。這實在是違反禮儀。我們被教導不能露出牙齒,因為人生來嘴巴就是閉著的。(摘自1703年法國天主教教育家聖若翰著作: 基督教禮儀)」

不過到了二十一世紀,在攝影的領域裡:照相不能笑這件事情是完全被推翻的。感謝主,時代改變照相風格也跟著改變。現在,特別是在西方社會裡,很少看見照片裡的人不笑的。

這讓我聯想到什麼事情會讓人們常常笑?不管照相機問世與否,幽默最能逗人開心!(如果你大笑時沒有微笑,大概你的臉會爆炸!) 看到在意的人,我們會笑;看到嬰兒和小動物做可愛的動作,我們也會笑。當我們看到令人驚歎的美術畫作、聽到令人感動的音樂表演、看到我們支持的球隊在最後 得分時反敗為勝,或者收到一個令人驚訝的禮物時,我們都會笑。當我們在工作上陞遷、慶祝正式簽約或是當我們幫助別人生命更成長的時候,我們也會笑。

你知道,微笑 (smile) 這個字並沒有正式在聖經裡面出現過。在聖經裡面,有smelling (聞) smite (重擊) 卻沒有smile (微笑) 這個字。這不代表神反對笑,因為雖然聖經沒有用微笑 (smile) 這個字,但是大笑 (laugh、 laughing、laughter) 被用了四十次之多。而且我們確定如果有大笑就會有微笑。

大笑並非總是發生在歡樂的場合。聖經中詩篇2章4節裡說到,「那坐在天上的必發笑; 主必嗤笑他們。」 有時候偷笑帶來史上最大的歡笑。例如亞伯拉罕年長的妻子撒拉,神告訴她說她會生一個孩子,成為一個母親。所以當她的孩子以撒生出來的時候, 撒拉說:「上帝使我喜笑,凡聽見的必與我一同喜笑」(創世紀21章6節) 以撒在希伯來文翻譯出來就是笑或是笑的人。

大部分的時候,聖經說喜樂,也就是我們所說的「心裡的微笑」,在處境艱難的時候依然喜樂。「因為知道你們的信心經過試驗,就生忍耐。」(雅各書1章3節) 所以我們在處境困難的時候依然能夠喜樂,相信萬事都互相效力叫愛神的人得益處。」

吉姆.馬提斯在堪薩斯州陸路公園市經營一家照相館。他的專長是商業和影劇界人像。他也經營一所攝影學校。他曾是CBMC在堪薩斯州堪薩斯市和密蘇里州堪薩斯市的執行主任。

省思/討論題目
你的家庭合照裡是否有一張是大家都不笑的?當時發生了甚麼事,說說當時的狀況。 你覺得微笑代表甚麼?甚麼事情會讓你笑? 你覺得聖經一次也沒用到微笑smile是不是很奇怪?你覺得原因是甚麼? 無論是正面的或負面的,你還記得聖經中哪裡有提到「笑」?你覺得他們有甚麼重要性? 如果你想要看看或討論聖經中更多與這篇主題相關的經節,請參考:詩篇 1篇1-3節、30篇5節、100篇1-5節;羅馬書 5章2-5節、12章15節;腓立比書 4章4節;希伯來書 12章2節


WHY NO SMILING IN THE "OLDEN DAYS"?
By Jim Mathis

As an expert on old photographs, I am often asked why people were not smiling in old photos. There are actually three theories. The first is that shutter speeds for cameras in photography”s early days were long due of slow film speeds, so people had to hold still for a number of seconds. The second theory is that dental hygiene was not good, so people did not want to show unsightly teeth.

The first answer is somewhat true, but the second probably is not. There is a third possible explanation, most likely the real reason: To smile in a photograph was considered in poor taste. Here is a quote about that line of thinking from more than 300 years ago.

"There are some people who raise their upper lip so high…that their teeth are almost entirely visible. This is entirely contradictory to decorum, which forbids you to allow your teeth to be uncovered, since nature gave us lips to conceal them."

– Jean-Baptiste De La Salle, The Rules of Christian Decorum and Civility, 1703.

That is quite a statement. It sounds so contrary to our 21st century way of looking at the photographic grin. Thankfully, times change as so do styles of photography. Now it is rare, particularly in Western cultures, to see a photo of someone not smiling – especially if they want to look their best.

This led me to wonder what is it that most commonly makes people smile, whether a camera is present or not. Certainly good humor can prompt a smile; just try laughing without smiling. Your face might explode!

We smile when we see people we care for; when babies and little animals do cute things; when we see a captivating piece of art; listen to a rousing musical performance; see our favorite team score at the end of the game to salvage victory from certain defeat; or receive a special surprise gift. We also smile when we receive a promotion at work, celebrate the formalizing of an important contract, or realize we have done something to enhance the life of another person.

Did you know the word “smile” does not appear in formal translations of the Scriptures? In a Bible concordance, it goes directly from “smelling” to “smite.” Not a single “smile.” That does not mean God is opposed to smiling. There is no mention of smiling, but words like “laugh,” “laughing” and “laughter” are used 40 times. And we must assume if there was laughing going on, smiles were happening as well.

Laughing is not always presented in a happy way. Speaking about people conspiring to rebel against God, Psalm 2:4 states, “The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.” Another time, however, laughter resulted in one of the biggest smiles in history. Sarah, the aging wife of Abraham, had given up hope of having a child. Then God promised them she would become a mother, and when their son, Isaac, was born, she said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me” (Genesis 21:6). Isaac, in Hebrew, means “laughter” or “he who laughs.”

Most often the Bible speaks of joy, which we might consider “smiling on the inside,” even when things happening around us are unpleasant. James 1:3 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” So we can smile inwardly in adversity, trusting it will work for our ultimate good and help us to grow spiritually.

Jim Mathis is the owner of a photography studio in Overland Park, Kansas, specializing in executive, commercial and theatrical portraits, and operates a school of photography. He formerly was executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
Do you have any old family photos in which no one is smiling? What were your thoughts about the lack of smiles? What does a smile mean to you when you see it? What things most commonly will prompt you to smile? Does it seem curious that the term “smile” is not used even once in the Bible, in the direct translations of the original manuscripts? Why do you think this is the case? Can you think of any other instances of laughing in the Bible? If so, what are the circumstances – and is laughing used in a positive or negative manner? What would you think is the significance of this? NOTE: If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages: Psalm 1:1-3, 30:5, 100:1-5; Romans 5:2-5, 12:15; Philippians 4:4; Hebrews 12:2

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