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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Dixon: Valuing history, just not its ownCT Post, January 30th
Among the layoffs was Richard Malley, who with 23 years of service was in charge of collections; Nancy Finlay, a Princeton Ph.D. who headed the images and photograph collection; and Diana McCain, who led the library. Blankenship, who makes about ...Read more
Center Surveys History, Evolution of AstrophotographyUANews (press release), January 30th
A private collection of mostly anonymous vintage photographs of solar eclipses dating from the first three decades of the 20th century. "Solarium," an immersive installation developed by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory that depicts the activity on...Read more
Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House To ReopenCo.Design, January 30th
The architect's first Los Angeles project has been under restoration since 2008. Check out our slideshow for beautiful vintage photographs! After a $4.3 million restoration, Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House in Los Angeles will soon reopen to the...Read more
Mesa history: 1895 booklet predicted prosperous future for Mesaazcentral.com, January 30th
Main Street. One of the earliest photographs of Mesa's Main Street is this one from 1899. The two-story Zenos Co-Op brick building is partially shown at far left. McClintock Photograph Collection, Arizona Historical Society. PNI mr 0109 history...Read more
Was Lewis Carroll a Pedophile? His Photographs Suggest Soartnet News, January 30th
This year marks the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll's masterpiece, the wildly imaginative book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865). But the recent discovery of a shocking image within his photograph collection has upstaged the celebrations, ...Read more
Purchase College Presenting Vintage Photographs By Mike DisfarmerThe Daily Voice, January 26th
PURCHASE, N.Y. – Vintage photographs by Mike Disfarmer will be on display at the Neuberger Museum of Art at Purchase College SUNY through March 22. “Becoming Disfarmer” is the first exhibit in the New York metropolitan region to include Disfarmer's ...Read more
Vintage photograph marks conductor Sir Simon Rattle's sixth decadeThe Guardian, January 18th
Sir Simon Rattle photographed in 1982 by Rory Coonan on a Victorian plate camera. Photograph: Rory Coonan/National Portrait Gallery London. In celebration of the 60th birthday this Monday of the renowned conductor Sir Simon Rattle, the National...Read more
Before & After: Vintage Photographs Transformed Into Surreal CollagesVisual News, January 12th
UK artist Luke Robson is cutting up the past and rearranging it into these fantastic surrealist collages. His work imagines a retro-future filled with stars, cosmic rays, and space helmets, plus a healthy dose of bizarrely juxtaposed imagery – from...Read more