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Photograph Identification Guide
by David Rudd Cycleback

25) ASSORTED TIPS AND NOTES FOR PRESS & PUBLISHING PHOTOS

(c) cycleback 2003, 2005 all rights reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1800s Press Photos

Press Photographs from the 1800s exist but are rare. They are typically cabinet cards or similar mounted photographs. Many were bought by the magazine or photo service from independent photographers and the photos will have the stamp of the photographer along with the photo service or magazine. As with 1900s press photos, the 1800s examples will often have handwritten notes and production marks, including inked highlights to the image. Many famous 1800s photographers worked for or sold their photos to the press, including Mathew Brady, Joseph Hall, Benjamin J. Falk and Napoleon Sarony.

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Pre-War news service photos are rarely to never found in mint condition. I've never owned a mint example. They were usually well handled, shipped, stored, aged and often cropped for publication purposes. If you find a vintage 1930 Lou Gehrig news service photo with mint corners and edges, there's a darn good chance the photo was trimmed in recent times.
This also shows that, while condition and overall appearance are important, the collector shouldn't obsess over the razor sharpness of the corners or edges. Wirephotos aren't Topps baseball cards.

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Photo services weren't always trying to make works of art. Sometimes they were in a hurry to create a photo to be published right away. These in-a-rush photos could be crude and often bizarre. I have seen photographs of magazine pictures (the photographer literally took a photograph of a magazine picture), images made from heavily cracked negatives, images greatly out of focus or underdeveloped.

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Baseball Fans, look for the Baseball Magazine Archives / Christie's Hologram

Collectors can find old baseball photos with a circular hologram including the text 'Baseball Magazine Archives / Christies.' This hologram, placed on back, indicates the photo came from the archives of the famed old magazine, 'Baseball Magazine.' Christies auctioned off the archives in 1996, and affixed a hologram to each photo in the auction. For baseball collectors, this hologram will bring a premium, as it helps show the photo is genuine and has famous provenance.

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There will always be mysterious photos; photos whose maker you can't identify and photos you can't be certain of the date. Don't fret about it. Even experts and top dealers will find photos they can't identify.

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Common sizes for press photos are 8x10, 7x5 and 9x7 inches. All other things equivalent, the larger the photo the more expensive. Photos 11x14 inches or larger are scarce.

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Remember that UPI and UP (aka UPA) are not the same. United Press/United Press Association existed from the 1800s to the 1950s, when it was replaced United Press International. This difference is important for dating many photos.

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Some modern press photos are not real photos but lithographs or computer/digital prints. These are identified by the fine dot pattern in the image viewed under a strong magnifying glass or microscope. The lithograph and computer press photos are considered less desirable than the real photo versions, and often have lesser quality images.

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Many of the pictures in publications aren't reproductions of photos but of original sketches, paintings and mixed media art. These works of art are also collectable.

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