Perfecting the Duchenne Smile–Victorian Style

In case you haven’t noticed, all of the 19th Century featured photographs of women on my BLOG have a natural smile, which is also known in the scientific world as the Duchenne Smile. Guillaume Duchenne, a French physician, studied the physiology of facial expressions during the 1800s.  This type of smile is the natural raising of the corner of the mouth and cheek bones. Tyra Banks, renowned supermodel, dubbed this in the 21st Century as the Smize.

Thus, one of the most important techniques I have to master as a Civil War Living Historian is the Duchenne Smile.  One would think smiling with the corner of the mouth and the cheek bones would be very easy to do; however, after a lifetime of taking pictures with the fake “Say Cheese” smile, achieving the Duchenne Smile is indeed a challenge.

The featured photograph is courtesy of the New York Public Library Digital Gallery.  As you can see, the unidentified woman has a natural smile through the corner of her mouth and cheek bones.

For those who are new to this topic, see the Youtube video titled “Smize” by America’s Top Model.  Enjoy!