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Picturing the family
Picturing the family

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2 Background history

2.1 Styles of photograph

Let's briefly examine the various styles of photograph that are commonly found in family albums.

Figure 1 A photograph of a woman
Image 1 Photographer/Painter: Anon. Subject: Unknown woman, 1840s.
Figure 2 A photograph of a woman
Image 2 Photographer/Painter: Anon. Subject: Unknown woman with opera glasses, 1850s.

Practical photography was invented in 1839. The first photographic portrait studio opened in Britain in 1841. During the first 20 years photographic portraits were bought as one-offs in the shape of the daguerreotype in the 1840s and the wet collodion positive in the 1850s. Both formats came cased or framed and were designed to be carried on the person or displayed in the home.