I caught a talk by Ken Burns late last night on C Span. He commented how the lack of photographs from the time before photography made it very difficult for him to make his style of documentaries of things such as the American Revolution and the War of 1812. He said that many of the paintings and drawings from that era were "cartoonish." I thought that was an odd comment given some of the great portraits of Washington, Jefferson, etc. But perhaps those are the exception, and his comment underscores one of the important contributions that photography has made.