Explore CollectionsNineteenth Century

Nineteenth Century

Anna Atkins (British, 1799–1871), Mauritius, from Cyanotypes of British and Foreign Flowering Plants and Ferns, cyanotype, gift in honor of Edward Anthony Hill, 2019.1.

The medium of photography was invented in the mid-nineteenth century and ushered in a modern era in which images were easy to produce and disseminate. Photography democratized image making by making portraiture accessible to nearly anyone for the first time, and it brought the world closer as people could view widely circulated photographs of distant places and world events. The medium also allowed for new expressive possibilities for prized verisimilitude and speed to capture the flow of daily life. The High’s collection of nineteenth-century photographs includes early portraits by Nadar and Southworth & Hawes, scientific forays by Anna Atkins, iconic images of the American Civil War by Alexander Gardner and others, and views of old Paris by Charles Marville.