Dating 20th century photos
Having learned in the previous blog how photograph compositions and studio settings changed over the years, we now look closely at what our forebears are wearing in old photographs.In any kind of portrait it is often the subject's clothing that engages us most: fashion history is a fascinating topic and recognising the modes of different eras is an invaluable tool when trying to date unlabelled photographs.Jayne Shrimpton MA, photo dating expert and dress historian, offers a professional service to individuals and organisations wishing to date old photographs and artworks.She works mainly with family historians, dating old photos, carte de viste cards, postcards, cabinet cards and analysing family pictures, but also helps institutions and groups who would like to date an old photo or understand their vintage image collection.Using her fashion history training and 25 years' practical experience of dating and interpreting historical portraits, Jayne dates old clothing styles and other visual clues in 18th and 19th century artworks and silhouettes, Edwardian Victorian photographs, paintings and drawings, Edwardian photos and 20th century pictures.She also uses further techniques for old photo dating, including identifying the type of photograph (its format), dating the card mount design and researching the photographer or studio's operational dates.A search of newspapers on Genealogy turned up the story of the parade in which the boys participated.
There are also websites that collect details of photographers. Again, look online for different sleeve shapes through the ages and try to find ones that match those in the photograph. For the 20th century, dress length can be quite revealing.We find some of the most common queries from readers are to do with photo dating.