Francisca Tejada de Orendain and daughters, Hipolita and Virginia, Portraits from the Hipolita Orendain de Medina correspondence and miscellany, MSP 1441
While today we might have separate digital albums to display albums of photos to our friends through Facebook or Flickr, the Victorians made their advances in photographic technology a fad of their own. The development of being able to have multiple, identical albumen-print photographs that could be pasted onto uniform, 2 ½-by 4-inch cards transformed possibilities for the distribution of images. While previously images were exposed directly onto the surface of the object that would become the "photograph," as in daguerreotypes and tintypes, cartes de visite came from a single negative, meaning that one could give their portraits to numerous individuals without multiple sittings. To incentivize the mass consumption of the new technology—called “cartomania,” as noted by Andrea L. Volpe—people could purchase photo albums which were specially formatted for cartes de visite. According to Olivier Debroise, these albums became "an indispensible object in homes after 1865" and were "exhibited from time to time" to guests in formal parlor rooms, filled with images of personal acquaintances and purchased copies of famous public figures. Collecting photographs became a new form of social "networking."
|Beatriz and Adolfo Quevedo, Portraits from the Hipolita Orendain de Medina correspondence and miscellany, MSP 1441|
Concepcion Navarro de Camarena and child, Hipolita Orendain de Medina correspondence and miscellany, MSP 1441
Pablo Rocha & Portu, recto and verso, Portraits from the Hipolita Orendain de Medina correspondence and miscellany, MSP 1441
Library and Collections Intern, California Historical Society
"A Brief History of the Carte de Visite." The American Museum of Photography. 2004. Accessed August 14, 2017. http://www.photographymuseum.com/histsw.htm
Debroise, Olivier. Mexican Suite: A History of Photography in Mexico. Translated by Stella de Sá Rago. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2001.
No Rooms of Their Own: Women Writers of Early California, 1849-1869. Edited by Ida Rae Egli. Berkeley, CA: Heyday Books, 1997.
Shields, David S. "Buying and Selling Cabinet Cards 1865-1905." Broadway Photographs. Accessed August 14, 2017. http://broadway.cas.sc.edu/content/buying-and-selling-cabinet-cards-1865-1905
Volpe, Andrea L. "The Cartes de Visite Craze," The New York Times. August 6, 2013.