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Photo Detective: Props in Family Photos
6/9/2014
Our Photo Detective points out how props can provide clues in family photos.
In the early days of photography, professional shutterbugs often used props to give an image context and warmth. Curtains, backdrops, rugs and furniture frequently appear in old family portraits. Painted backdrops also were common in photo studios. By the 1880s, the painted scenes mimicked household interiors and landscapes.

Patrons also brought their own props to pose with, and these items can reveal your ancestor’s occupation, hobby or other personal details. Such is the case with this photo belonging to Alaric DeArment.
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