Sunday, March 05, 2006

Democratic Visages: The Tintype and America

Democratic Visages: The Tintype and America. "...The photograph on iron plate, commonly called the tintype, was the cheapest, easiest, most permanent, and most popular method of capturing a portrait during four of America’s most tempestuous decades. It was invented in 1854, popularized by the Presidential election of 1860, and spread by the Civil War. The tintype was the first medium of mass portraiture. Never before had so many people, people of all classes, commissioned a portrait in any medium. Before the tintype only a mirror could show how us how we looked. Before the tintype we had no pictures of our mothers or daughters and they had none of us; no beloved person was kept in wallet or album or frame. It was the tintype that first brought vivid self-representation into the home of the average American."


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