No photograph ever was good, yet, of anybody–hunger and thirst and utter
wretchedness overtake the outlaw who invented it! It transforms into desperadoes
the meekest of men; depicts sinless innocence upon the pictured faces of ruffians; gives the
wise man the stupid leer of a fool, and a fool an expression of more than earthly
wisdom. If a man tries to look serious when he sits for his picture the photograph
makes him look as solemn as an owl; if he smiles, the photograph smirks repulsively;
if he tries to look pleasant, the photograph looks silly; if he makes the fatal mistake of
attempting to seem pensive, the camera will surely write him down as an ass. The sun
never looks through the photographic instrument that it does not print a lie. The piece
of glass it prints it on is well named a “negative”–a contradiction–a misrepresentation–
a falsehood. I speak feeling of this matter, because by turns the instrument has represented
me to be a lunatic, a Soloman, a missionary, a burglar and an abject idiot, and I am neither.

– Mark Twain, Letter to the Sacramento Daily Union, written July 1, 1866