19th Century Photographs

19century_2Did you know photography was not made commercially available until 1841? It is commonly believed that the photography process has been around for much longer, but Graham Jaunay was at the library last Wednesday to tell us otherwise.

An experienced family historian and lecturer in genealogy, Graham conducted a workshop in the Learning Centre to explain some of the best ways to find out when the photos in 19th century albums were taken. Many people think that the best way to determine the date is to examine the subjects of the photograph, but it actually proves more accurate to look at what form the photo is in and how it has been presented. Using the correct methods,  it is possible to narrow the date down to a particular decade or even year.

As well as learning the difference between their daguerreotypes and calotypes, the group of budding genealogists who attended the workshop also left with an understanding of how to best protect old photos from damage. The four main types of damage that cause deterioration are environmental, chemical, physical and biological. If stored appropriately, photos will be protected from all damage and will last for many years to come.

Interested in finding out more? Try these titles available in our collection…

Preserving your family photographs by Maureen A. Taylor

Photography: An illustrated history by Martin W. Sandler

Dating nineteenth century photographs by Robert Pols