Missing photographs of the existing drawings. Where are they?

Very often we have to deal with 19th century drawings similar to the below-linked examples:

Until 03/04/1880, magazines and newspapers were publishing drawings instead of photographs. Apparently, they had no choice, because there was no technology allowing to publish actual photographs. And if we were to believe the U.S. Library of Congress - prior to 1880 - newspapers had an army of sketch artists running around and producing various illustrations.
  • The first photograph published in an American newspaper - actually a photomechanical reproduction of a photograph - appeared in the Daily Graphic on March 4, 1880.
  • Before that time it was common practice for American editors to enlist artists to sketch and report on news events, from steamboat explosions to the battles of the Civil War.
  • It was not until 1919, with the launching of New York's Illustrated Daily News, that American newspapers began to feature photographs routinely.
  • The lighter cameras and "faster" lenses introduced in the 1920s brought about a revolution in news photography, ushering in the age of photojournalism.
Well... it sure looks like they were real busy sketching things, that's for sure. It also looks like many of their sketches (if not all) had a real photograph for a twin.

Grue du Viaduc
A crane in the port of Brest, France, engraving from L'Illustration, Journal Universel, No 121...jpg

Source - Source

The Russian Atlantic Squadron Command

I see only two possible explanations of this:
  • 1. Artists had to manually reproduce photographs, because there was no technology to print actual photographs
    • If that was the case, where are the thousands of missing photographs represented by the thousands of existing sketches?
  • 2. There was a specific sinister reason to show us sketches instead of the actual photographs.

KD: Looks like there could be tons of amazing/revealing photographs we have not seen yet. Some definitely did not make it through the wheels of time and censorship, while others are being kept in private collections. From time to time, such previously unknown photographs pop up on our radar through Sotheby's, eBay and other channels. Here is one example.
As far as this small article goes... if you run into a 19th century photograph, represented by a 19th century drawing, please share what you've got. I will put them side by side like I did with the images above. This could serve as a tool to demonstrate that many drawings did represent real things.
  • Wouldn't it be cool to find a photograph used to sketch something similar to the below 1882 aircraft?


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Jan 31, 2021
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Take out the Norman Rockwellian characters and I think this is a contender. The characters appear to be composites, they don't match the contrast of the rest of the image (i.e. the missing photograph). This is Crystal Palace, New York, in 1854.


Crystal Palace in New York looked quite amazing. Quite a shame that it caught fire.


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  • Jinxy

    Jun 19, 2021
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    Crystal Palace in New York
    They built a replica in Amsterdam with photo's but these photo's plus story are even more disturbing
    off course this one burnt down too.
    There was a specific sinister reason
    I even find vague black and white photo's of events or buildings in the 80's.

    In 1987 something my dad had a really Nice canon EOS camera and I had this pocket camera all in color.
    I have color pictures of myself in 1973 too.
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