April 20, 2024
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Say ‘Prunes’! The Quirky History of Photo Sayings

In the age of instant selfies and digital photography, saying “cheese” to elicit a perfect smile has become second nature. But did you know that people used to say “prunes” instead of “cheese” when getting their pictures taken? The history of these photo sayings is as fascinating as it is quirky.

The Origin of “Cheese” and “Prunes”
“Cheese” has long been the go-to word for creating pleasant smiles during photography. It’s believed to work because it forces the mouth into a shape that mimics a smile. But why “prunes”? The use of “prunes” in early photography can be traced back to the 19th century. The word “prunes” was chosen because it produced a puckered or smiling expression, especially when pronounced with an exaggerated “pru” sound.

Evolving Expressions
As photography technology evolved, so did the expressions people used to enhance their smiles. In some cultures, “whiskey” was preferred over “cheese,” as it naturally led to a relaxed and genuine smile. Other phrases like “say ‘money'” or “say ‘sausages'” emerged as playful alternatives.

Global Variations
Around the world, different languages and cultures have their own unique photo sayings. In Japan, it’s common to say “cheese” or “neko,” which means “cat.” In the Netherlands, they opt for “lach eens naar het vogeltje,” which translates to “smile at the little bird.” The diversity of these sayings reflects the rich tapestry of global customs.

The Smartphone Era
In the digital age, the act of saying anything has become somewhat obsolete. Smartphone cameras are now equipped with facial recognition technology that captures your best smile automatically. While we may no longer need to say “cheese” or “prunes,” the historical charm of these sayings lives on in the world of photography.

The history of photo sayings is a delightful journey through time, culture, and the evolution of photography. Whether you’re saying “cheese,” “prunes,” or something entirely unique, the goal remains the same: to capture a moment, freeze a memory, and, of course, to make people smile.

Picture Courtesy: Google/images are subject to copyright


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