Writing from a time before we all carried a camera in our pocket and took photography for granted.
From the preface of Picture Making for Pleasure and Profit published in 1903:
“The professions and many lines of commercial business in which photography has become a necessity and the sciences to which it is now an indispensable aid and adjunct are too numerous to mention here; but a few citations may tend to impress my readers with the importance of this science par excellence.
In the practice of law it is a leading factor in the presentation of a certain character of evidence. In surgery, as exemplified in the x-ray, its performance is the marvel of the century. In every department of engineering it is employed to record the progress of the work. In engraving and printing it has become a prime requisite. In the service of the police it is the mute agent which restores the missing to loving friends, and brings the malefactor to the bar of justice. In every branch of commerce, on land and sea, the speechless camera heralds the steady progress of industrial development. It makes all the peoples of the earth familiar with the lives and habits of each other. It carries to the Icelander the warm scenes of the tropics, with their sunny skies and luxuriant flora, and to the simple children of the Amazon it portrays the rugged, rock-ribbed shores of Labrador and the vast fields of ice and monster bergs, which rear their crystal peaks high into the dreary silence of the Arctic circle.
To the microscopist it is his chief dependence for accurate registration. But not until we consider its relation to astronomy, that queen of sciences, does the transcending value of photography blaze out, like a flashing meteor in the sky. With the modern telescope it penetrates the depths of space, and in one night obtains plates of the constellation of the Pleiades more rigidly accurate than patient astronomers have been able to obtain in a score of years without its aid. It wrests from the solar mass the secrets of ages, and records the stupendous convulsions and explosions which occur upon its surface and preserves the immutable data of this wonderful phenomena for generations yet to come that they may be brought through the instrumentality of photography, into that relation with the celestial bodies which will enable the coming higher man to solve the great problems of human life.”
Plus, if I am lucky I will get to see what my friends are eating for lunch in real time via Facebook!