I am really enjoying the NSW State Records Office Archives Outside blog. Chatting to Bill Oates, the University of New England archivist, on my recent visit to Armidale, Bill said that the folks responsible for the blog were thrilled at the response they were getting. And so they should be. It's well deserved.
One of their latest posts, What are your tips for dating photographs?, dealt with ways of dating photos.
I use old photos quite a bit to tell stories and to attract comments. See, for example, North Coast Memories - SS Fitzroy, a nostalgia piece where I show that the State Library date attached to the photo (c1925) could not be correct since the ship sank in 1921.
It's not just a question of dating, but also of setting a context. What does the photo tell us?
Look at the photo in New England Airways - Postscript, one of a series in the Hood collection. It's not just that people are all dressed up, it's also that the photo is part of a remarkable story in Australian aviation, the New England Airways' story.
One of the difficulties that I face is knowing when to to use photos, especially when they are tied up by apparently fiendish copyright conditions. In fact, most of the older photos are out of copyright. Yet it's still an issue and especially in NSW.
One of the things that I so love about the internet is that we are just getting to the point that some of the more specialist areas that I am interested in, New England history is an example, are just starting to reach critical mass. At this point, they become genuinely useful.
Once again, congratulations to Archives Outside.