British photographic history

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Photographic process misidentification rates in professional collections.

Hi all,

For my research I need to be able to compare the different processes used between pairs of records and  to identify the similarity of the processes mentioned in each record. However, part of the challenge in doing this is that the process listed in the metadata is not always correct. For example, tin types listed as dagarotypes. Is anyone aware of any research, or even better any figures, on the rates of process misidentification in collections?



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One's own experience tends one to believe that often those classifying prints have not had sufficient training.

One significant travelling international exhibition, despite the plate marks, had all the  large gravures labelled as platinum prints and the platinum prints labelled as gravures. One collection did not have its Evans prints classified as such or even as platinum prints, they were only found by checking in the catalogue under the name of someone he had photographed. Confusion of Daguerreotypes with ambrotypes or salt prints with albumen prints is not uncommon.

I am sure that there are good reasons involving cash and other resources but one has learnt to be careful not always to believe what it says on the label.

Terry King

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