Archive for the ‘photographs’ Category

Holiday Gift for Someone Special

Now you can order a gift for a special someone. Send me a digital scan of a photo (at least 300 dpi, color) by clicking on the “Upload Photo” button on the right.  I’ll combine the photo and my consultation analysis in a acid free and lignin free mat board (may not be the color shown). The cost? Only $35.00. If you want this before the holidays, please order before December 15th.

CLICK HERE to order yours

Click on “Add to Cart” next to the Special Holiday Frame product and then “Checkout” to complete payment and I will process your order.

New Website:

I’m really happy about the changes to my business and I hope you’ll be too. This week I launched a new website, It’s to ask all your photo related questions so go ahead and ask or just fill out the form to join in one of the Ask Maureen tele-seminars. The first webinar is May 17th at 1 pm EST. It’s only open to the first 200 registrants though!

Can’t wait to see your questions!

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.

Weekend at the Museum: Armchair Travel into the Past

I’m one of those tourists that isn’t content to just view the scenery, I want to see what the area looked like years ago too. This means I have a small collection of nineteenth century travel guides for my favorite places. I’m always on the look-out for historic travel guides or a museum exhibit that let me glimpse into the past.

Rome is on my list of must visit places, but I haven’t been yet. I’ll be prepared for that historical road trip though. A new – The First Art Newspaper on the Net at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts displays 100 nineteenth century photographs of Rome. How fun!

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Queries and Answers: Look Alikes

Andrea wrote:
Between my second cousin and I, we have about a dozen photos of two sisters that are two years apart in age, b. Dec 1865 and Feb 1868. We have a few that we are certain are a one or the other but all of these are after the women are 40 years old. It is the ones in their twenties and younger that we are having trouble with.

Any suggestions in how to distinguish two women that look very much alike?

Absolutely! Facial features to compare are eyes, noses, mouths and especially ears. A person’s ears are unique. Look for all the minor details in a physical characteristic such as size and shape. It’s usually the simplest things that differentiate between people that look alike such as the tilt of a nose or and fullness of a person’s lips.

The new iPhoto software and Picasa (a free download from offer facial recognition software.

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Before jumping to conclusions make sure that all the other evidence in an image adds up to the same identification.

Queries and Answers: Photocopy Woes

Will wrote with two questions:
Some 15 years ago, someone in the family lost the lone original of a cherished family photo from 1880. We have the photocopy in black and white. First, could this be turned back into a negative (albeit an inferior one) and reprinted using antique sepia techniques from similar family photo’s taken at the same time in the same 1880′s studio?

Well, that really depends on the quality of the photocopy. If it’s clear enough you could scan it and try to enhance it using photo editing software or you could hire someone to try to improve the quality. I’ve scanned high quality color photocopies with a good result, but if your black and white copy is muddy you’ll have to start by fixing the contrast in the image.

And second, if it could be done, are there any photographers around who actually know how to recreate such rich dark red sepia print tones? …and can you direct me to one or two?

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Photo editing software can recreate the sepia tone colors. If you want to hire someone to make those changes try searching for “photo restoration” and the name of your town in an online search engine.

Picture Hanging Help

I don’t know about you, but the whole process of hanging pictures on my walls makes me a little nervous. I hate making holes in the wallpaper and then finding out that I’ve made a mistake. A fairly new company has a series of templates to help you put the pictures in the right place. It’s a complete system for creating a photo family tree wall presentation. It’s an interesting concept.
The website for The Picture Wall Company explains their product and how you can use it.

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Looking for Pictures: Check Out Historical Society Publications

A couple of months ago I visited the Indiana Historical Society and created a short video of their Destination Indiana project. You can view it on my YouTube Channel. As I was leaving members of the staff handed me a small packet of their publications.

On the cover of Connections, The Hoosier Genealogist (Fall/Winter 2008)was a group portrait of men at a furniture-making company in Spiceland, Indiana, ca. 1900. Inside there were more pictures and excerpts from manuscripts. Each issue is a great resource for individuals looking for images of their family or of papers relating to them. The same was true for Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History (Winter 2008). Each article was richly illustrated.

If you’re trying to locate material on your family, try both the local historical society and the state facility for the area in which they lived. If multiple generations resided in a particular location, I strongly suggest subscribing to publications for those organizations. They are a wonderful resource. Plus, your membership/subscription helps support those groups.

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