As we look at all these old pictures, we forget how different photography was back in the day. Today's picture is from the Harris and Ewing news service, and it shows a typical portrait camera from the early 1900.s While bulky, these cameras took excellent pictures.
I don't know if you have ever noticed this, but the little "Brownie" cameras that everyone had in the 1920's through about 1940's took excellent pictures. When I look at old family snapshots, I am amazed by the clarity and contrast that most of the pictures had. Then somewhere about the 50's or 60's the "instamatics" and "poloroids" came out, and the pictures were TERRIBLE! The low point of photography came with the 110 instamatic, and with the color polaroid that spit out a tiny picture that developed in front of your eyes. Those were dark days indeed for photography.
With the advent of the modern digital camera, photography has gotten much better. I am amazed with the quality of picture that you can get from a $100 camera these days. I also believe that people are starting to become better photographers, thinking more about the pictures that they are taking.