Photographic Formats 1870-192

Invented in the late 1830's, photographic technology was already relatively advanced, portable, and commercially viable by the time Icelandic immigrants began arriving in North America.  

Gone were the days of long, painstaking sittings in front of a camera lens and complicated chemical conjurations to produce a single image.   Gone, too, were the prohibitively high costs that once ensured that only the wealthy could afford to preserve their likenesses for posterity.   Now light could be used to create lifelike, reproducible, affordable images of the average person in just moments.

Though typical post-1870 photographs were neither as elaborate or delicate as earlier photographic "jewels" displayed behind glass in ornate miniature cases, these newer sepia images on paper also had a gem-like quality when mounted on ornate embossed cards with gilded edges.   Prepared with great care, skill, and style, these latter-day photographic "gems" were of exceptional quality, and the clarity, definition, and finish of these images often surpassed that of both earlier and later photography.