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NOTICE: A greatly expanded and PROFUSELY ILLUSTRATED version of this material is being prepared as an ebook - watch this space for availability announcements.

Identifying the Location in Old Landscape Photographs

Look closely at the image, both sides, any mount it is on, etc. See if you can narrow the date using clues we discuss elsewhere for dating images. See if there is any photographer's imprint, inscription or other clues. If you find any, use those criteria to narrow your search.

To identify the location of a landscape image, you need to first question why the photographer took that image -- what about it was interesting enough to attract attention? There is usually some outstanding feature -- a rock formation, river, mountain or other feature -- most often near the center of the image -- that was the focal point for the photograph.

If there is something particularly distinctive about the view, try to put it into words, then use a photographic search engine to look for matching views online. Thus, is you have an image of a geyser, search for geyser images online, and see if any match yours, or at least are similar enough to deserve further investigation.

In cases where the subject is a cultural feature, such as a sod shanty or railroad track, your odds of finding a match or much lower, but search anyhow, you might get lucky. Or you might find that a particular photographer was known for similar images, so their work might deserve further scrutiny.

NOTICE: A greatly expanded and PROFUSELY ILLUSTRATED version of this material is being prepared as an ebook - watch this space for availability announcements.





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