Props in Photos - Real Life?

Props-1900~Bixler,EvWhen gathering, scanning then labeling your vintage photos, don’t always believe everything in a photo, especially those before and just after the beginning of the 20th century.

It was quite common to have one’s portrait or a group family photo taken by a photographer and props were added. There might be a radio in the scene, but the family didn’t actually own a radio at that time. A photo taken outside might have the family in front of a nice house. Not their house at all, rather a prop or the family placed in front of someone else’s house just for the appearance of the photo.  Props-children

A common prop might be a book, yet the person really didn’t know how to read, it was just a for appearances. At the beginning of the 20th century a common outdoor photo might have a person or family in an automobile. It didn’t mean they owned that car or any car, again just for appearances.

Children’s photos with toys, very cute, but those toys were more than likely props. Having a soldier carry a specific rifle in a photo, especially during the 1860s, was usually a prop from the photographer. Even clothing styles could have been props and never normally worn by the person in the photo.  So beware.  Props-Root, Etc -- (1892~

When you view photos from the 1930s to the present, it was less common to use a prop making it look like the person owned or used the item in real life.

So as you review they family photos, keep an eye out for anything that might really have been owned by that relative or family. It was just for show.  Props-1912~Ethel, Harry & Edwin Kershaw-Eng.

Related genealogy blog links:

Use of Photos

Forgotten Photos

Public Domain Photos


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