Cute couples photos through the ages

My grandparents visited the other day and we ended up looking at some old family photos. I saw adorable pictures of cute couples like my parents and aunt and uncle. At the same time, as the clock went back, the couples in the pictures–my grandparents and great-grandparents–showed less and less emotion. There were only a few snapshots of my family that could be considered lovey-dovey “cute couples photos” from before 1960.

Did people have a different overall type of relationship in the past? Or is it just the acceptance of PDA (Public Displays of Affection) nowadays? Or is it the changing role of photography? Can we rely on photographs to tell the deeper story of a relationship?

Couples have had pictures of themselves made for thousands of years. Back in day, if you were rich enough you would have a portrait painted of you and your spouse when you got married. Then photography came along and by the mid 19th century became a cheaper, popular way to document your family. In the early days of photography, taking a picture was a lot of work. Couples had to sit still for ten minutes or longer, often dressed in their stiff and uncomfortable finery. Smiling was not in vogue. As a result, a lot of couples’ portraits turned out like this:


These days there are endless snapshots of cute couples all over the internet. Newlyweds kissing at their wedding, grinning over a vista on their honeymoon, making funny faces at the camera for no reason. We can document our marriages moment by moment with the click of a digital camera. We can take thousands of photos a day, if we want, at no cost. In a way, this allows us to wear our hearts on our sleeves and see all the loving intricacies of our relationship reflected in film.

Here is a gallery of some of my favorite cute couples photos. What can we learn from the relationships behind them? What strong marriage skills are they exhibiting? Which do you think show paid models, and which are genuine? And, what do you think pictures of you and your spouse can reveal about your marriage?