'Deep suffering with resignation,' from Mécanisme de la physionomie humaine by Guillaume-Benjamin Duchenne de Boulogne (1806–1875). Paris: Renouard, 1862.
These three photographs have been removed from Darwin’s own copy of Mécanisme de la physionomie humaine. Guillaume-Benjamin Duchenne had photographed human expressions with the idea of correcting the inaccurate representations of them in art. Because his subject, a 'fairly simple-minded' old man, suffered from facial insensitivity, electrodes could be applied to particular muscles without too much discomfort, producing expressions which were held long enough to be photographed. Despite the artificiality of this procedure, Darwin used some of Duchenne’s photographs to illustrate his own book on the expression of the emotions, believing that they were fairly accurate. However, they were widely criticised by reviewers as exaggerated and vulgar. Many compared them unfavourably with the idealized expressions in the paintings of the Old Masters.
Darwin Papers, Cambridge University Library.
The photograph above shows the 'Volta-Faradique' instrument used by Duchenne de Boulogne to apply the electric shocks to the man's face.
Link: Musée d’Histoire de la Médecine Paris