Photography is a great way to document our ancestors and to learn more about who they are, even just from their portraits.
Since the late-19th century, photography has become much more accessible and affordable for middle class families, yet taking a photo back then was a very different experience from today's.
Two centuries ago, there were no “instant” photos. Those posing for photographs had to remain in position - patiently - for five minutes to get the perfect image.
For infants and small children, the "sitting still" requirement proved difficult as photographers had to find ways to keep them quiet while taking their portrait.
How did they solve this predicament? Understanding that infants feel comfortable next to their mothers, photographers brought them into the photo, but camouflaged!
A relatively common practice, these “hidden” mothers held their babies tight, so the photographer could record a sharper image.
A mother was covered beneath a beautiful fabric, while the child was placed on her lap for the photograph.