Vintage Photography

The first known photographs were created in the 1820s using technology called a camera obscura. These early images were the beginning of a rich art form that allows us to relive historical events, visit far off places, and get glimpses into everyday life through the ages. Vintage photographs can give us insight into days gone by, through fashion, family portraits, and cityscapes. You can purchase photographs from any era and through those images, discover the customs and people of that time period.

Antique daguerreotype photos were the first type available to everyone and they were relatively easy to produce. Subjects had to sit still for several minutes while the image was exposed on a metal plate with a photo-ready surface, resulting in many early portraits featuring posed and still images. Some of the most famous daguerreotype shots are Matthew Brady's Civil War images, depicting the real faces of the bloody conflict. As the technology of photography improved, snapshots became less formal and more candid, showing people in motion, going about their daily activities, and sometimes unaware they were the subject of a photo. These more natural pictures give us an even better idea of real life during years past.

Vintage photographs are popular with collectors both as art and as history. From military photographs and images of famous people to simple photos of life on college campuses, vacation spots, and in cities, these collectible photographs celebrate the lives of our forebears. You can acquire photographs from our sellers to frame for your own home as art or just to add to your collection.

Browse AbeBooks seller listings to buy photographs from well-known photographers. Photojournalists offer a window into other parts of the world and different cultures through their lenses. Many of the photographs in the collections are signed by the photographer, just like any other work of art.