In the late 1830s the French artist Louis Daguerre perfected his method of capturing images, and the world would never be the same. Photography flourished in the 1800s, helped in some measure by Civil War soldiers who clamored to have portraits taken in their new uniforms. Thanks to intrepid photographers and their cumbersome cameras, the look of the 19th century was captured for all time.
The Library of Congress hosts a wonderful showcase of early photography in the United States. The images, created using the process devised by Louis Daguerre, include portraits by Matthew Brady as well as astonishing landscape views of the city of Washington in the late 1840s.