Last Update: 2012 Oct 24
One of the better means of dating a photo is to
identify the photographer.
Usually the name (or more correctly the Photographer's Mark) is
on the front bottom or back of the mount - the cardboard
backing that the photograph is attached to. However, they can be surprisingly hidden -
written or embossed on the photo itself or, as one that I saw, in the photograph disguised as
a tiny shield.
The photographer's mark usually gives the name
of the photographer and the community he or she worked in. The problem is that it is
usually difficult to get any further than that to, for example, a date. This site,
divided into countries and perhaps regions, will direct you to the books and websites that
contain what indexes there are.
But first a word of warning. A remarkable
feature of early photographs is that they travelled. They leapt across oceans and
continents. If you find an old photo done by a photographer in Brighton, do not assume
that it is Brighton, Ontario just because your great grandmother lived in Ontario when she set
up the photo album. Consider Brighton, England. If it had been Brighton, Ontario,
it most likely would have said "Brighton, Ont" or "Brighton, C.W." Here is a list of
regional short forms as are found on photographs.
And here is the index
that (we all hope) contains the information you are looking for. Good hunting!
This is an on-going work, and it is not
perfect. If you can correct an error or, best of all, add another link, please e-mail
me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This site copyright, 2002-2011 by Fraser Dunford,
1107 - 2055 Upper Middle Rd, Burlington, Ontario, Canada, L7P 3P4
The background was created by Gary B Ruppert, who can be reached at