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When is a photo, not a photo OR what is a genuine photograph?

Article about: Good Evening / Morning Not quite sure where to post this, so if it is in the incorrect section my apologies and don't hesitate to move it. I have done a search of the Forum and have not foun

  1. #1

    Default When is a photo, not a photo OR what is a genuine photograph?

    Good Evening / Morning

    Not quite sure where to post this, so if it is in the incorrect section my apologies and don't hesitate to move it.

    I have done a search of the Forum and have not found the answer to my question. However, I acknowledge that I may well have done a 'mans look', so if there has indeed already been a discussion, please don't hesitate to post a link.

    I'm attempting to come to grips with the intricacies of photographs - or to be more precise the apparent meaning of when is a photo, not a photo? I'm not talking about modern copies on fake paper.

    I understand the concepts of RPPC and period photos printed during a particular time frame (let's say for arguments sake, 1914-18), but I am having difficulty with photographic prints.

    I have seen one seller on eBay state that the items they have for sale are from the Real Photograph Co. Ltd that went out of business in the 60's. I believe that their negatives were sold to at least a couple of different individuals - one being a John Callis who picked up their railway and maritime inventory. I also believe (but not certain) that they also sold a number of their developed photos to several individuals and these bear the Real Photograph Co. Ltd stamp on the reverse. Unfortunately after a rather fruitless search of this interweb thingy, I am unable to find any further information concerning this company's history - including their date of existence - despite looking for the name, bankrupt companies and even out of business companies. The only other information I have is that they were initially based in Kent and then Lancashire. The photo below certainly seems (IMHO) like a print that is post-1918, but not during WW1. (I have a feeling it's going to be so small to be totally useless - sorry).

    I have also seen another site stating the items that they are offering are photographically produced prints, but not World War 1 vintage original photographs.

    I assume - and this may be entirely incorrect - that this means that a photographer has obtained the negatives and printed them at a later time - in this case, the 60's and early 70's. The website actually take great pains in bringing this information to the buyer's attention.

    Now, after that rather long diatribe and I hope that I've made sense, I come to my question(s).

    In these cases, does the fact that the items were not produced until after the War, does it lesson the desirability of the photos from the collecting point of view?

    I can certainly see the argument that in both instances, the photos could have been mass produced. But then again, I would have thought that this potential would be the same for all photographs not solely done by individual soldiers / airmen / naval personnel - and even then they could still do so.

    Then there is also the question - if a photo was taken by an individual soldier in 1942, but it wasn't developed until 1952 for whatever reason, does this mean it is not a period item?

    Your assistance and indeed any comments would be appreciated.

    Cheers
    Tim

    [Edit: Yep - the attached photo is far too small and I can't seem to enlarge it - again sorry]

    Name:  Real Photo Ltd.JPG
Views: 149
Size:  1.8 KB

  2. #2

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    This thread is a bit long but, a good read and lots can be learned from it.
    http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/german...graphs-154916/
    Ralph.
    Searching for anything relating to, Anton Boos, 934 Stamm. Kp. Pz. Erz. Abt. 7, 3 Kompanie, Panzer-Regiment 2, 16th Panzer-Division (My father)

  3. #3
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    I find the premise of when a negative is developed into a photo, be it years after, wether it is a valued as a period developed photo fascinating, I've been pondering it all day! I did work experience with the RAAF photo section, part of it was to go through their archive and find a negative to develop...I found a negative of a boomerang fighter over Sydney from WW2.... I still have that photo 25 years later....also all my photos I took in Iraq in 2005 were digital, yet if I printed one off today, it would be just as special as its digital counterpart..... I feel wether a photo is developed today as opposed to 70 years ago, the image is what matters, no the paper stock it's on

  4. #4

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    Hi Ralph - thank you for the reply. I obviously did have a 'man's look' for the link in the forum - the one you provided is very detailed and I am still wading my way though it! Yes, I do tend to waffle at times - I agree the post is a tad long.

    AMTG - I agree with your sentiments. For what it's worth - I believe that you have a genuine picture of the Boomerang. The question I think is: 'is it period?' I believe from reading the other link, the answer is: 'no'. Which is a bit of a conundrum as far as I'm concerned.

    Cheers

  5. #5

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    The negative image is period but the latter day photo-print from the negative would be contemporary to the day it was printed and therefore not as commercially valuable even if never printed previously. If one is collecting period photo-prints this would be an issue but if one was collecting period imagery it would not. I collect photographs of Poland WWII and in that collection I have a great number of "original" but mass produced press agency photo-prints and wirephotos which I value for their historical imagery and they are usually priced at a much lower value commercially than photo-prints and negatives taken by an individual combatant whose images often were only one off prints or processed but unprinted rolls of film.

    How the future collector will "value" digital images and media is an interesting subject especially as many such potentially historic images are never output to hard copy and IMO are in greater danger of being lost to history just because they are stored on media drives.
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  6. #6

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    Quote by 4thskorpion View Post
    The negative image is period but the latter day photo-print from the negative would be contemporary to the day it was printed and therefore not as commercially valuable even if never printed previously. If one is collecting period photo-prints this would be an issue but if one was collecting period imagery it would not. I collect photographs of Poland WWII and in that collection I have a great number of "original" but mass produced press agency photo-prints and wirephotos which I value for their historical imagery and they are usually priced at a much lower value commercially than photo-prints and negatives taken by an individual combatant whose images often were only one off prints or processed but unprinted rolls of film.

    How the future collector will "value" digital images and media is an interesting subject especially as many such potentially historic images are never output to hard copy and IMO are in greater danger of being lost to history just because they are stored on media drives.
    Succinctly put and I can see where you're coming from. Possibly it's just me and I'm not reading it quite correctly, but the part that I've highlighted (notably the italic section) - doesn't this tend to go a little against your initial statement? (Edit: Sorry that didn't come out terribly clearly - this section: processed but unprinted rolls of film)

    As I say, I may be reading it incorrectly.

    Cheers

  7. #7
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    The other issue with today's digital world is soldiers letters home....there was a team from the Army history unit that came to Iraq and gave us USB sticks and asked to download as many photos as we were happy to share, also emails......that way the history unit had a large number of photos and emails they would store for future generations

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    Funnily enough I have been thinking about this also as I have come into possession of a number of glass plate negatives from WW1 that I am developing. From a historical perspective these images are of interest but they will never be considered period First World War photographs.

  9. #9

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    A most interesting and salient point AMTG, to which 4thskorpion has already alluded. I had not actually thought about this side of things until you mentioned it.

    Spitace - I am in a similar position as yourself though not nearly as lucky in terms of quantity - I have recently purchased a glass aerial negative of Passchendaele on the 11th Oct 1917.

    And this becomes the point where I get a trifle confused. I would surely consider the negative to be period.

    If this is the case, then why would the developed image not be period? (Or am I being overly simplistic - or simply not understanding?)

    Cheers

  10. #10

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    Quote by Allegra View Post
    A most interesting and salient point AMTG, to which 4thskorpion has already alluded. I had not actually thought about this side of things until you mentioned it.

    Spitace - I am in a similar position as yourself though not nearly as lucky in terms of quantity - I have recently purchased a glass aerial negative of Passchendaele on the 11th Oct 1917.

    And this becomes the point where I get a trifle confused. I would surely consider the negative to be period.

    If this is the case, then why would the developed image not be period? (Or am I being overly simplistic - or simply not understanding?)

    Cheers
    To be honest I think it is totally subjective. It is a bit of a chicken and egg issue really, maybe its just that I don't see the developed product in the same light as photographs developed during the period?

    Out of interest how have/ will you develop you glass negative? I would certainly like to see the result as my skills could do with some fine tuning.

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