Archive for the ‘photo detective’ Category

Enjoy this slideshow of images of summertime fun!

A Summer Treat For You! from Maureen Taylor on Vimeo.

Queries and Answers: Photographic Value

A recent sale of photograph’s at Christie’s auction brought in 7.5 million dollars. The items sold included a set of Edward Curtis photos of American Indians. If you’ve ever wondered how much a photograph in your collection was worth here’s a few things to keep in mind. I’m not a photographic appraiser, but I’ve spent enough years as a curator and as a photo collector to have a general sense of value.

Was your image taken by a notable photographer?A gorgeous daguerreotype by Southworth & Hawes is worth more than a carte de visite taken by a local studio.

Is it unique?

What type of photo is it?

Who’s depicted? Is it a famous person?

What’s the subject of the photo? Anything seen as unusual costs more at photo shows.

Is it historically significant?

Before deciding to sell off part of your collection, keep in mind the sentimental value of your family photos. If you think you have an image that fits the criteria mentioned above contact a certified photographic appraiser. This article has a lot of good tips to follow and a list of what you should expect from an appraisal.

Queries and Answers: Ambrotypes

Here’s another question from an attendee at one of my workshops. “If a daguerreotype is named for Louis Daguerre, then what’s the origin of the term ambrotype?” Good question. I have to admit it caught me off-guard.

An ambrotype is an image on glass backed with a dark material or varnish. It’s named for J. Ambrose Cutting who promoted the process.

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Lost Pictures: Conservation Adoption

There is a lot to like about this idea. A Dulwich Picture Gallery exhibit that focuses on the paintings in their collection in need of conservation. They want you to adopt a painting and help preserve it. The program is called Adopt an Old Master and the exhibit is in honor of the 100th adoption. I’m not aware of programs like this in the United States, but what a great idea.

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Queries and Answers:What’s the Worst Photo Album?

Whenever I present my lecture on Preserving Family Photographs I’m asked the same question, “What the worst type of photo album?” The answer is magnetic photo albums. They aren’t really magnetic, but the glue strips or dots on the acid paper pages acts like one. Your photos STICK to the page and you have trouble removing them. Over time the glue will stain your images.

While I don’t advise taking apart family photo albums, when confronted with a magnetic one it’s a different story. Purchase a new album with acid and lignin free pages and non-pvc polyester overlay then carefully remove all your images from that nasty magnetic one and recreate the order of the images on new pages.

I know..the next question is “How do I remove them?” You can gently slide a piece of dental floss between the image and the page or you can purchase a microspatuala from a library supplier and try using that to remove the images. Just be careful. It is possible to tear a photo with the floss or the spatula.

Make me a promise. No more magnetic photo albums, no matter how cheap they are on sale. Stick with the good stuff. Look for acid and lignin free models with polyester overlays. They will last.

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Lost Pictures: Another DaVinci?

Imagine searching for three decades for a lost image. That’s what Dr. Maurizio Seracini has done. He’s looking for a lost Leonardo DaVinci mural possibly hidden inside a wall at the Florence (Italy) city hall. In 1975 a researcher spotted a clue, now Seracini is using some really cool scientific gadgetry to find the painting. He’s firing neurons through the wall to see if he can find the mural.

Saracini and his team are looking for a DaVinci mural, “The Battle of Anghiari” that’s triple the size of the “Last Supper.” Is it behind a painting by Varsari? Did Vasari construct a brick wall in front of the DaVinci masterpiece? There is a fascinating article by John Tierney in the New York Times about the scientific hunt for this lost piece of art.

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What Children’s Book Influenced Your Life?

That’s the question editor Anita Silvey asked me one day. I was able to answer very quickly–A Wrinkle in Time. I read that book so many times I wore out my copy. Meg, Charles Wallace and the crew kept me entertained again and again. Meg was my role model–tall, smart and awkward. She also knew how to ask questions.

Now Anita’s new book, Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children’s Book is out. She asked more than 100 leaders from the arts, sciences, politics, business and ME to talk about a children’s book they loved. My response is on page 97!

Life is sometimes a big circle. Anita was my editor on Through the Eyes of Your Ancestors, my guide to family history for kids. It was my first real book and that title launched me on this career.

One of the things Anita believes is that if a child reads (or is read too) 1,000 books, it’ll make them a life-long reader.

So, I want to know. What children’s book influenced your life? Join the discussion on my Facebook page or add your comment to this posting. Spread the word. This is a question worth discussing in book groups.

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Weekend at the Museum: Click! Photography Changes Everything

Two years ago I was asked to contribute to this Smithsonian Photo Initiative I was asked to find a photograph in the Smithsonian’s collection and write about it. I selected this image of Dorothy Catherine Draper. It’s actually a copy of the daguerreotype of her. The original has deteriorated. I love this photo! It shows a young Draper in 1830s clothing. Her brother Daniel took in June of 1839.

If you want contribute to Click!, you can. It’s now open to visitors. Do you have a story to share?

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Queries and Answers: Preserving Flowers

In addition to answering questions on old photographs, I receive inquiries on how to preserve a wide variety of items.

Jennifer wrote: I have two pink roses and a carnation from my grandmother’s funeral in 2006. They’ve been hanging upside down in my closet since then. They still have all of their color since my closet is dark and away from light. Do you have any suggestions on how I can preserve them?

Jennifer’s closet seems like an in-home drying box. This would never work in my closet with all the temperature and humidity changes. I searched the web for an answer and found this article on how to preserve wedding flowers. It’s full of useful tips depending on how Jennifer wants to save those flowers.
How to Preserve a Wedding Bouquet |

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