Reading Branch meeting 28th March 2019
Speaker: Tom Doig
Tom started by suggesting it is more accurate when dating old photographs to look at the type of image created rather than the costumes worn by the sitters. His reasoning is that fashion does not travel very fast around the country and what may be fashionable in a city like London may not reach a town like Reading for five or ten years. Also, the subject’s photographed may be more, or less, well-off and be more, or less, likely to buy latest fashion. Sitters sometimes also used costumes provided by the studio taking the picture.
Tom believes that a more reliable method is to look at the materials of the picture and its surrounding mounts. These can quite often be used to accurately identify a certain studio as records are available to compare the styles used.
Tom also spoke of the early history with up to fifteen hours exposure and glass plates, through the various inventions of materials and reduced exposure times required. In addition, other “clues” may include frames hidden behind the subject to prevent them moving or parents hiding behind a large chair for baby photographs.
The talk concluded with a run of photographs projected onto a screen showing tell-tale signs of when various things were used such as studio curtains, furniture and props.
This was an entertaining and informative talk.