History-3: Early Uses of Photography - 1850-1880

Portraiture was the first widespread use, commercial or non commercial, of photography.
For the first decade, Daguerreotypes were prefererred because of their
high resolution and jewel-like qualities.

By the 1860s, paper print portraits - made from glass negatives - became dominant,
because they were highly reproducible and lower in cost.

By the 1890s, photo technology had improved so that faster shutter speeds and
less cumbersome cameras could be used for documenting everyday life.

Travel photographs from exotic locales around the world were another
early commercial success for photography.

In addition to travel scenes, photographs of exotic "types" were sought after.

The new technology of photography was well suited to recording the
tehnological marvels of the 19th century.

Photography of the 19th century was too slow and cumbersome to be
used to document wars during actual battles.

But the horrible aftermath of battles could be - and was - documented.
Average people far from the battlefields learned about the reality of warfare.

return to History indexreturn to Main index