The photographers whose work appears in this archive represent a broad range of interests. We have acquired pictures from people who take the occasional casual snapshot, to people who have spent most of their lives taking lots of photographs.
However, mostly what we actually know is that a particular photograph comes from the collection of a particular person or family.
We routinely find photos of the alleged photographer in batches of photos–it’s common for people to hand their camera to someone else, so that they can be in photos with their friends. People trade prints with their friends, we’ve found examples where 2 different collections we were given had the same photo in them (the negative was also in one of the collections, so we can infer with some confidence whose camera that shot was taken with). (Photos given by friends generally aren’t associated with entire stacks of prints and negatives, that helps distinguish them. When the friend is identified, we record that in the metadata.)
In multi-person collections, we also run into cases where there are photos belonging to individuals before they joined up, and then later photos. The dates of photos are often unclear.
So, what I’m saying is, when we say a photo is from a particular collection that was given to us, that’s pretty reliably true (human error can always creep in), but often when we say or imply who actually took the photo, there’s a bit of inference involved.
There are not currently articles for every photographer who has contributed to this archive.