- Paperback: 173 pages
- Publisher: Family Tree Books (8 March 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1440324980
- ISBN-13: 978-1440324987
- Product Dimensions: 21 x 1.3 x 27.6 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 612 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
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Family Photo Detective Paperback – 8 Mar 2013
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About the Author
Maureen Taylor is an internationally known expert on photo identification. She has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, and on NBCs Today Show, ABC's The View, and NPR. She is a contributing editor to Family Tree Magazine and writes the magazines Photo Detective blog, blog.familytreemagazine.com/photodetectiveblog.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I found 2 boxes of old, mostly unidentified old (to very old) photos in my mother's closet at the time of her death. I'm sure she'd put them there when an aunt of hers died in the mid 1980's. I was quite excited about this book, and when I read it, I was delighted. Here was a book that could really help with my boxes of mysteries.
Actually dating photos with the aid of this book has been a bit disappointing. I learned a lot from what I had read--but really found myself with only a few tools to work with. The most helpful section has been on the types of old photos, including their sizes and the material on which they are printed. When I read the section on dating photos by examining the fashions of the day, it seemed very helpful. But...when I examined some of my own mystery photos, I realized there wasn't nearly enough info to go on.
For instance, there is almost no info on children's clothing that I found useful. Was that a tophat, or some variation, worn by the young man in my photo who may have just gotten his first adult suit? Nowhere could I find the length of his coat, the cut of the lapels, the shape of his trousers, or even his pointy-toed boots. He was wearing his hat at the 10% angle--but these were farm people, so far how behind the cut of the times might he be? Nor did I have much luck with the recommended links.
And how about the two women on the bridge, smiling at the camera held by some ancestor of mine, wearing skirts that defied all classification, and two radically different hats?
So, this book's a nice overview, but when you want to get down to the actual work of playing photo detective, you'll need to go to far more detailed sources. I tried using some of the links mentioned in the book. After many hours, I have learned a bit more about a couple of photos, but I must have glanced over the real message of this book: Identifying or learning more about old photos is a very time-consuming endeavor. That makes perfect sense when I think about it, but somehow the marketing for this book made it seem, not easier, but perhaps faster than it really is.
I find it all very interesting--but I've not enough time these days to immerse myself in old photos.
I do wish the book were longer. I would like more information on the clothing styles at various times. However, it did point me in the direction of buying books on the history of clothing styles. I did find the parts on hair styles to be quite helpful.
All in all, I found it had a lot of useful information for me and helped me narrow down the dates of some photos.