From Mathew Brady's Civil War photos to Ansel Adams' landscapes to Irving Penn's magazine shots, antique and vintage photographs are highly collectible. Photography was introduced in the U.S. in 1839, and immediately became popular.
Daguerreotypes dominated the field of photography until the mid-1850s. A daguerreotype is a copper plate covered with a thin layer of polished silver that looks like a mirror when held at a certain angle. By the mid-1840s, they were affordable for the average person, and it is therefore relatively easy to find old daguerreotypes today. Most daguerreotypes were studio portraits, where the subject posed for the photograph at the photographer's studio. Daguerreotypes featuring outdoor or street scenes are far rarer.
In the mid-1850s, ambrotypes replaced the daguerreotype. An ambrotype is a negative that has been put on glass and placed against a black background to make it look like a positive. Ambrotypes were popular until the 1890s. Another example of a cased image like the daguerreotype or ambrotype is the tintype, which was patented in 1856 and was made using a thin sheet of iron.
Stereoviews, also known as stereographs, were also created in the late 1850s and reached a peak of popularity in the 1870s. Stereoviews were cheap photographs that simulated a 3D view. In the 1880s, various companies decided to mass-market stereoviews that featured pictures of foreign locations to homes and schools. Stereoviews remained popular throughout the early 1900s.
In 1859, the carte de visite, which had been created in France, was introduced to the U.S. The carte de visite, or CDV, was a 2.5 inch by 4 inch print made of paper. As it was more affordable than previous forms of photography, it was accessible to a wider group of people. Many Civil War soldiers had their photographs taken and printed as a CDV.
Real photo postcards are another popular form of photographic print. Real photo postcards were made by developing a photograph onto postcard-sized photo paper with a postcard backing. They are still made today.
The most popular paper photographic print is the gelatin silver print, or black and white photograph. Gelatin silver prints have a long lifespan if well-maintained. Most 20th cen...
Scarcity, condition, and the identity of the photographer and subject all play a role in determining the value of antique and vintage photographs. Some examples of popular (and collectible) photographers include Lewis Hine, Robert Frank, W. Eugene Smith, Danny Lyon, Paul Outerbridge, Jr., and the photographers associated with the Farm Security Administration, such as Ben Shahn, Dorothea Lange, and Walker Evans.
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Area ExhibitsTown Topics, November 26th
Historical Society of Princeton, Bainbridge House, 158 Nassau Street, has “Princeton's Portrait: Vintage Photographs from the Historical Society of Princeton” Wednesday-Sunday, noon-4 p.m. The show is also on view at the Updike Farm location, 354...Read more
26th Annual Christmas Home Tour in Holly Springsseattlepi.com, November 26th
"I take almost all the photographs myself, although I do use a few vintage photographs," Hayes said. "Everything I do is based on travel since the 1980s and Mississippi is part of that travel. I just treated the state as though it were another country...Read more
At 93, the divine Theresa Landry will retireValley Breeze, November 25th
After more than 70 years of teaching dance, Theresa Landry is closing her studio on Dexter Street. Forced to move, the 93-year-old has decided it's time to take her final bow. Landry, above, helps her students during a rehearsal. Pictured from left are...Read more
Hey, Brothers, Can You Spare a Cough Drop?New York Times, November 24th
One television commercial, which runs 30 seconds, begins with the character, played by an actor named Sam Wickham, in what looks to be a Smith Brothers brand museum, complete with vintage photographs, logos, packaging and products. “The original ...Read more
History Column: It's a Pop Concert in Boxford! ...Wicked Local Boxford, November 24th
The photograph collection held by the Boxford Historic Document Center includes far more images from the early 20th century than from more recent decades. A “pop concert” seems like a great way to picture the 1950's. These photographs were donated to ...Read more
Books: Give the gift of words this ChristmasNewsOK.com, November 22nd
The book includes excerpts of Twain's writings, as well as rare book illustrations, letters, journals, vintage photographs, caricatures and more. It's basically a must for the Twain fan. Modern America doesn't really have an equivalent of Mark Twain...Read more
Esther Hidalgo Takes Vintage Photographs of DC Urban DecayWashington City Paper (blog), November 3rd
Hidalgo 2 Using vintage cameras and throwback darkroom tricks, photographer Esther Hidalgo documents D.C.'s development and urban decay in “You Were Here,” an exhibition at the BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown, Md. Hidalgo, a Corcoran ...Read more
25 Vintage Photographs Of 19th Century Freaks. How Has Humanity ImprovedExplosion, October 30th
Calling someone a freak is never pleasant, but the meaning of the word has changed in the past century. Today when we call someone “a freak” we usually refer to some quirk in their character, some peculiar desire or just plain bizarre behavior. But...Read more