Carte de Vistas: The First Social Media Experiment (w/ HawnFawn)

And on this episode, we’re winding our timelines back to the first social media experiment (that seems to have gone a LOT better than the current one) – CDVs, Cabinet Cards and the mania they kicked up. We’ll also be talking to Bay Area portrait photographer and everybody’s best friend, Han Phan (@hawnfawn on IG)!  There’s the answering machine, zine reviews, Tiffen Sinclair (@tiffen.sinclair on IG), and how to find meaning in your shitty work (or at least how we did). 

Hawn Phan (HawnFawn)

We’re so happy to finally be able to sit down with Han! We talked about her portraits and stories, her parents and a project she’s started with them. Lots of talk on cameras and film too.


IG: @hawnfawn

Here are a few of her portraits:

CDVs: The First Social Media Experiment

In the early decades of photography, sitting for your portrait was a ritual reserved for the wealthy classes. With the costs of the rare photographer, the glass, the frame, and the experience, few besides the rich could afford the luxury of this one of a kind photograph. 

But in 1854, that all began to change, though not without the protestations of the elites. It was in this year that Andre Adolphe-Eugene Disderi patented the carte de visite – literally, visiting card.

In this longer feature, we dig into the weird little history of what turned out to be the first Social Media Experiment. Lasting less than a decade, 300 to 400,000 CDVs were cranked out per year.

We look at the lighter side and a bit of the darker side to the first affordable photo trend.

Here are some examples of CDVs, from the very typical to the very famous to the very odd:

Here’s an example of how the larger plate was exposed in eight different segments:

And some larger Cabinet Cards:

Zine Reviews

Abandoned Cameras Rescued Film by Mark Jensen


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Music by Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers

Vania: IGFlickrZines
Eric: IGFlickrZinesECN-2 Kits
Tiffen: IG

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