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.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
Collection of Collections
Wisconsin Historical Images
Cliff House Project
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Photographs
Source: Google News
The rise and fall of churches in Eagle, AlaskaFairbanks Daily News-Miner, May 24th
Walter and Lillian Phillips Photograph Collection. UAF Archives. • Photos of St. Paul's Church. Historic American Building Survey, National Park Service. 1984. • “The Alaskan Missions of the Episcopal Church, A brief sketch, historical and descriptive...Read more
Conneaut museums are open for summerThe Star Beacon, May 23rd
Products made at long-gone factories and sold at now-defunct city businesses are on display, as well as local curios and a large collection of vintage photographs. People routinely donate items they've discovered in attics and basements to the museum, ...Read more
The Definitive Photo London Sales Reportartnet News, May 23rd
At high end, modern art dealers, Waddington Custot, a selling exhibition of vintage photographs of sculptures by Rodin, Brancusi, and Henry Moore (prices from $25,000 to $300,000 for a Brancusi), was years in the making and has been staged to coincide ...Read more
Eva Mendes Takes Her First Selfie On Instagram And It's For An Amazing ReasonBustle, May 22nd
However, the gorgeous mom and actress just broke her no selfie streak: Eva Mendes snapped her first selfie on Instagram for a good cause. Scroll through Mendes' Instagram and you'll find posts during photo shoots, #tbt pics, and vintage photographs she...Read more
The Very First Edition of Photo LondonCool Hunting, May 22nd
How, one might wonder, has a city as large and culturally important as London not had a proper photography fair before? After all, Paris Photo—both in its original city and in Los Angeles—is a huge success, and the interest in photography as an art...Read more
This incredible map lets New Yorkers see vintage photos of their street cornersBusiness Insider, May 21st
Old photos have an uncanny way of connecting us to our past and creating a window to see back in time. And fortunately for a city like New York, with such a rich history, there are a lot of vintage photographs that capture days gone by. But never...Read more
People buying vintage photographs of strangers for decoration, art projectsWXYZ, May 4th
DETROIT (WXYZ) - Old photos are being sold and used for art projects. The people in the photos are also becoming someone else's instant ancestor. Karl Lagler, owner of Antelope Antiques and Coins, says he buys old photo albums and resells the pictures...Read more
Women officers and classic cars rev up vintage photographs of the San Antonio ...mySanAntonio.com, April 28th
Vintage photographs of the San Antonio Police Department in the gallery above date back to this period in time, the Eisenhower era when men dominated the force with a fleet of 1957 Chevrolets. See the old police headquarters, a brick landmark on Dwyer ...Read more