The ease and convenience with which we can take photographs with a cell phone today makes it difficult to imagine what an incredible novelty taking someone’s picture was during the Victorian era.
The earliest practical photographs were called daguerreotypes, named after inventor Louis Daguerre and introduced commercially around 1839. The exposures took a long time, and they were typically rather formal and unsmiling portraits taken by a photographer in a studio. Daguerreotypes tended to be small in size, and because they were also fragile, they would be placed in leather cases lined with soft velvet or silk fabric for protection.
Victorian photography evolved with the innovations of Henry Fox Talbot, including paper-based photographs and faster exposures times, but the development procedure was still expensive and involved dangerous chemicals. Photographs created from different processes, such as ferrotypes, tintypes, cartes de visite, and cabinet cards, followed.
During the mid-1800s, photographic portraits were only affordable to middle- and upper-class Victorian families. Many Victorians loved photographs and would take photos to commemorate special occasions and to preserve memories. Images of families, children, soldiers, pets, houses, and beautiful scenery were cherished keepsakes. Victorians often collected photographs of their family members and friends.
Color photography existed from the very beginning, but developing was complicated and expensive, so black-and-white photographs became more common. Some were colored in by hand, although at extra cost.
By the late 1880s, George Eastman’s Kodak film camera made it possible to take pictures without hiring a professional. The end of the Victorian era saw the Kodak Brownie camera emerge, making photography even more affordable and accessible.
In the midst of today’s digital era, when we can take and preview photos, touch up, delete, and retake them within seconds, keep in mind how Victorians had to pose formally in studios for their photographs. And, yes … some even smiled.
About The Irish Heiress
Quiet and intuitive, Lady Mara Reeves has always felt more at home amid the green hills of her native Ireland than in London’s stifling ballrooms. Determined to remain single, she’s adept at gently rebuffing any suitor who comes her way.
So why is she so drawn to Foster Sheridan, Earl of Sterling? It’s a connection unlike anything she has ever known, yet complicated by one scandalous fact: the man she believes to be her destiny is already married…
Trapped in a loveless union with a woman who refuses to divorce him, Foster is resigned to loneliness until he meets the exquisite Mara. He wants her as a wife, not a mistress, but he can’t resist her unconventional offer. Their passion is intense, as is the risk. For even as Foster follows Mara home to Ireland, their pasts will lead them toward danger that only the deepest love can overcome…
About the Author
Kaitlin O’Riley, acclaimed author of the Hamilton Sisters series, fell in love with historical romance novels when she was just fourteen, growing up as one of five sisters in New Jersey. She has penned more than eight historical romance titles, which have been translated into various languages all over the world. Kaitlin lives in Southern California with her family, where she is writing her next book. You can learn more about Kaitlin and her books at KaitlinOriley.com and on the social media platforms below.