International News Photo of Thomas Edison
and his latest invention. INS was one of the big early 1900s
(For the sake of saving space, 'press photos' will be used
instead of 'press and publishing photos.)
Press (and publishing) photographs are photographs made by,
for or otherwise used by the press and publishing industries.
These photos include wirephotos made by wire services like Associated
Press and UPI, original photos shot by magazine and newspaper
photographers and photos made by Hollywood movie studios and
rock music labels to promote their upcoming products to the press.
Press photos are popularly collected, as the images encompass
most every popular subject, including sports, movies, music,
politics, celebrities, history, space exploration, art, nature
and everyday life. Many of the world's most famous photographers
have shot press photos, including Ansel Adams, Mathew Brady,
Charles Conlon, Richard Avedon, Alfred Stieglitz, Francesco Scavullo,
Carl Horner, Harold Edgerton and Napoleon Sarony.
The photos come in a wide range of quality, prices, sizes and
styles. Some are large originals with crystal clear and artistic
images, while others are small, later generation photos with
lesser to poor images.
The vast majority of press photos are gelatin-silver prints
(black and white) and chromogenic (color). Some press photos
from recent years are photomechanical, including digital/computer
Identifying photos as press photos
Most press photos are easily identified due to text on the
photo. This text can include a magazine's stamp, a news service's
image of a movie star.
Some photos have an editor's handwritten notes detailing how
it was to be used ('Two column picture in Tuesday's Sports Section.')
Some photos have production marks showing that it was used in
publishing or advertising.
Some photos don't have such identifiers, but are known to have
come from a newspaper's archives, editor or reporter. You may
some day buy press photos from a photographer who worked for
a famous magazine or photo service.
There are cases where even the seasoned collector or dealer
won't be sure where the photo came from or how it was used. Sometimes
you have to appreciate a photo for its artistic merits alone,
aware that you may never know its history or identity. The occasional
mystery never hurt anybody.
(c) david rudd cycleback, cyclback.com
all rights reserved