Images of the Past: Hugh Mangum's Photographs

19th-century photography subjects were rarely caught smiling. Whether is was the length of the exposure needed, or embarrassment about the condition of their teeth, we're not sure. The photographs of Hugh Mangum, an itinerant North Carolina photographer active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, are not typical in that many of his subjects are smiling. He was also unusual in photographing black people as well as whites, and he had an eye for an attractive face. Duke University holds his images, so I'll have to send you there to see them, but take a look. They are meeting your eyes, and their faces are full of good cheer.