There is mention of the way portrait photography developed as capitalism grew during the nineteenth century and it became a medium through which the middle and lower-middle classes could try to elevate their social status through images that conformed to certain established conventions with painted portraiture. Initially, this took place with the daguerreotype and the carte-de-visite and had the effect of stifling creativity within the medium. Not only were such photographs meant to establish bourgeois credentials they were also meant to elevate photography as a high-brow art.
These kind of photographs are themselves an expression of bourgeois culture upholding capitalist values relating to the nation-state, the family and the individual.
The upper classes also used photography to assert their influence with Queen Victoria leading the way while President Lincoln that his carte-de-visite made by Matthew Brady was in part responsible for his election as president.
Nowadays, the high-street studio still continues to uphold such conventions.