In the old days (19th century and very early 20th century) almost all cameras were large format cameras. For roughly the first fifty years of photography prints were made by contact printing rather than enlarging, which meant that if you wanted a big print you had to use a big camera.
Four unknown guys from the early 1900s hanging out with their cameras in hand.
President Coolidge in cowboy outfit, standing in field with photographers, 1927.
Group portrait of four members of the White House News Photographers’ Association, standing, facing front, holding cameras, ca. 1920s.
Group portrait of seventeen members of the White House News Photographers’ Association, standing and squatting, facing front, with cameras, ca. 1920s.