Exposure times of up to 30 minutes were required, but it was soon discovered that a latent, that is invisible image, could be developed in 2 or 3 minutes. Photographic Studios proliferated, and gave rise in the s and 60s to the Carte de Visite, a popular method of personal introduction, Cabinet Prints, and also to Tintypes which used small iron plates.
Tintypes were popular with itinerant photographers for producing cheap portraiture.
Other sites on identifying and dating old photographs Robert Pols’ site covering early photographers in Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire.
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Dating and Identifying Old Photographs Resources
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Dating Old Photographs, Robert Pols, Countryside Books , Victorian Photographers at Work, John Hannavy, Shire Publications,
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Book – Dating Old Photographs / [by] Robert Pols
View Full Version : Date of photo please. I’ve acquired a large number of family photos all taken in the second half of 19th century – hurrah, None of them are annotated – boo! Some of them are identifiable by comparison with other labelled photos, but I have never identified a photo of my great-grandfather a rather important figure in the story of my family.
Related to: Pols, Robert. Dating old photographs. Publisher: Bury, Lancashire [England]: Federation of Family History Societies, Format: p.:ill. ;21 cm.
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It has a LDPE 04 logo on it, which means that it can be recycled with other soft plastic such as carrier bags.
Fonds consists of: Books:in General Research section — “Early Photography in Canada” by Ralph Greenhill, “Dating Old Photographs” by Robert Pols,
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Dating old australian photographs
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ISBN 13: 9781860060137
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There are many web sites which contain information, guides and examples which are of great assistance in identifying and dating old photographs. One such is www. These are mainly English, but it is likely that the information is valid for Scotland also. Another is www. There are a number of useful books available, eg,’Dating Old Photographs’ by Robert Pols, published by Countryside Books, and ‘Family Photographs – ‘ by the same author, published by the Public Record office, both of which have further useful references.
A number of sources have been referred to in the compilation of the list of photographers in this site. The first of course are the Glasgow Post Office directories, which from listed the ‘Photographic Artists’ of the city.
Dating Twentieth Century Photographs
This section will look at the period of old photographs and look for dating evidence from them. Many of the photographs, where a photographer is named, can be identified in the directory above allowing accurate dating. Please contact the webmaster for details. There are number of types of old photographs we can come across during family history research.
These are:. An idea of the costs of photographs can be found in the Abbey Street Sunday Schools book page
Concentrating on professional studio portraits, it is designed to aid the amateur family historian in assessing photographic material from a time when the technology was developing at a phenomenal rate: as Robert Pols notes in his introduction, the Victorian period spanned the era from the announcement of the invention of photography to the snapshot. For the newcomer whose interest is genealogy rather than photography per se it can all be rather confusing.
The book is a revised version of Dating Old Photographs , which has been split into two, the second volume covering the early part of the twentieth century. Improvements came thick and fast, and Pols touches on these and social aspects as photography became widespread and the costs fell. He notes that many studio photographers were unadventurous and tended to follow convention, a reluctance to innovate which can assist the historian to date the photographs they produced.
Also, while there were numerous processes, those likely to encountered fall into relatively few types. Dating photographs consists of drawing together various strands of evidence. Some of these relate to the process used, the physical object sizes and mounts for example , as well as the image. Names and addresses of photographers, where provided, can be helpful, especially when used in conjunction with trade directories, as is information on patronage and warrants on the back.
Costume is an obvious guide as fashions change, but studio settings, composition and framing can be helpful too. For all these pointers, it is not an exact science and a best guess based on experience may be necessary when individual details within a photograph offer conflicting interpretations. Pols warns that caution needs to be exercised to ensure that incorrect inferences are not drawn and that often an approximate date, or a range of dates, is the best that can be achieved.
The book includes general advice on preservation, a section of photographs to illustrate the dating points made, a series of charts covering, chronologically: processes and formats; mounts; some professional studios; the granting of royal warrants; changes in setting and composition; and fashions. A bibliography concludes the book, but there is no index.