The Beginning of the Habit of People Say ‘Cheese’ When Photos

Apparently There Has Been Since The 1940s.
Why say cheese when taking a photo

Besides referring to cheese, ‘cheese‘ is also often used as a “formula” when taking pictures. The word is often used by the photographer to lure people to smile. Because when we say ‘cheese‘, the tip of the lips will automatically be raised and widened to form a smile like that. With this directive, the faces of the people being photographed can be uniform. The instructions above are usually done when there are important moments like family events, weddings, or graduations, so the photos are good if printed and displayed, right?

But have you ever been curious, why do you have to use the word “cheese”? Does it really have anything to do with cheese? To answer that question, let’s first review Hipwee this time.

The word that can make people smile when they say it first appeared in a local newspaper in Texas, called Big Spring Herald, 1943 edition

The local newspaper Big Spring Herald in Texas, United States, is believed to be the first source to mention the word ‘cheese‘ as a reference to people’s style when taking pictures. The word appeared in the 1943 edition precisely in one of the articles, which excerpts written as follows:

Regarding who the politician Davies meant, even now no one knows for sure. But many people suspect that it is Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States. This is because Davies served as a lawyer as well as a diplomat during the Roosevelt administration. Does it have to do with cheese? Hmm … doesn’t look like it …

What is clear, after appearing in the newspaper, the word “cheese” became attached to the world of photography. He also changed the style of people taking pictures who used to close their lips more than smiling broadly

In the Victorian era or around the 19th century, only children, farmers and drunkards always smiled when photographed. Conversely, people with high social status prefer to close their lips when photographed. At that time, keeping your face neutral and straight was considered very attractive and dignified. So if you look around, photos of ancient people would be mostly expressionless.

Plus, ancient camera technology that is not as sophisticated as now makes the photo process can take hours and even days! Very unlikely people can hold a smile for that long

The period where camera technology is not as sophisticated as now, making the process of creating just one photo can take hours. There are also those that last for days. During that time, the person who became the object of the photo must be silent so that the resulting image can be good. So it’s hard to imagine having to hold a smile that long. So the pose that feels safe is indeed just silent without expression.

In addition, at that time, dental hygiene was not a top priority. People are embarrassed if they have to show a smile with broken or toothless teeth

People’s awareness of dental health in that era was not as big as now. When you have a toothache, most people in the past chose to pull it out right away. The problem is that there are no medical measures such as patching teeth with holes, or polishing teeth to make it whiter. Many people become toothless or damaged teeth. This makes them lazy to smile when they have to be photographed.

But as the discovery of camera technology that can make a shorter photo time, people become more courageous expression. At that time the film industry in the US was also very much developing. So people kind of have more references about how they should style when taking photos. More casual photos also began to appear. So not only that photo must be in the studio with a flat style. They began to explore by taking photos from everyday life.