A circa 1880 hand-painted tintype. It is remarkable to consider the photographic process which resulted in an actual unique physical object one could hold, paint by hand and frame has gone from black and white to gone in two or three lifetimes. I haven't quite figured it out yet, but the warmth of an image may have gone with the film.
As far as the public goes, each step forward in the photographic process helped the producer become more effective (and profit more) while leaving the consumer holding less of a product in his hand. While it is an art, and it is progress... it is easy to view photography from a simple supply/demand capitalistic perspective. Dags, so beautiful and shimmering, an amazing thing folks will still circle to see at a show, turned to cruddy metal tintypes which were churned out like pizza at the shore in one lifetime.
It wasn't long before paper came and paper went. Instant photos followed and dropped the quality even further. Now the darkroom is empty and the bits and bytes which tore the guts out of reproduced music have done the same to pictures.
More and more recording artists are releasing their product once again on vinyl. As I understand it, digital music provides only a very small percentage of the aural quality not only possible, but once common. Once even standard. The consumer loses but pays more for it than ever before.
What is yet to be fully understood is what we have lost in pictures. Is the photo above particularly beautiful or desirable? Nope, not at all. But you could hold it in your hands.
"Full Plate" tintype (ferrotype) painted by hand circa 1880. Collection Jim Linderman
Dull Tool Dim Bulb Book Catalog HERE