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November 25, 2023

30 Amazing Studio Photos of People Wearing the Same Clothes for a Photoshoot From the 19th Century

The early photography studio was much more than a place to have one’s portrait made—it was an entire occasion. Studio proprietors and entrepreneurs deployed a range of strategies to elevate the photograph to the status of fine art.

Coaxing out dignified expressions, arranging backdrops and accessories, managing the distribution of light, and correctly timing an exposure were all skills that made early photography equal parts art and science.

In the early days of the daguerreotype, two main types of practitioners emerged: those who established permanent studios and galleries in city centers, and itinerant photographers who brought the technology to small towns and rural areas. The latter were often portrait painters or miniaturists who adapted their craft to the photographic apparatus, charging as little as 25 cents for a likeness.

By contrast, daguerreotypists who opened permanent establishments billed themselves as professional artists. Studios advertised their services in clever designs printed on the backs of cartes de visite and cabinet cards.

Below is a collection of 30 amazing studio photos of people wearing the same clothes for a photoshoot from the early 19th century:


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