6 October 2019
What are these small framed portraits?
These small framed photos were purchased recently at a collectors market. Does anyone recognise them as a particular type of photographic product? The circular image is 2.5 inches diameter. Pressed into the brass frame is a coloured photograph backed by a circular handbag mirror in a plastic mount. The ovals are 2.75 x 2 inches. They have a thick card back, couloured red, and behind the coloured photo is a thin piece of metal. There is no writing on any of these. The photographs are gloss finished - (so not behind glass) and depict individuals apparently from the 1920/30s.
18 September 2019
The site has been given a major re-write. It was previously thought that, when surviving early 20th Century smaller portrait photographs were studied, after setting to one side those photographs with a recognased named format, the bulk of the remainder were "Stickybacks" and it followed that the generic term "Stickyback" could be applied not just to the surviving photos but also to the smaller sized portrait genre as a whole and the cadre of photographers of the period producing these tiny images. However, a detailed study of contemporary advertisements for photographic apparatus and vacancies has revealed that, after recognised named formats have been discounted, there were in fact three names of photographs of a broad generic nature - these were "stamps", "midgets" and "stickybacks". The text has been revised to reflect this.
A miscellaneous selection of midgets stamps and stickybacks
20 June 2019
Have just spent some time working out the best way to get an impression of the embossing on some of the early 20th Century card mounts used by stickyback photographers. Hopefully at some future point we will be able to start to identify which mounts came from which mount producer. The example below is a portrait of an unknown young man, by an unknown photographer. Does the image on the right show more detail of the mount than the scan on the left?
4 June 2019
The site now lists some 178 "stickyback and postcard" studios in the UK, with more being added every week. As the number of entries on the site has grown, the site structure has now changed slightly. Instead of two huge pages listing the Stickybacks studios in England, the material has now been divided into nine English Regional pages, as well as the pages for Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Rest of the World.
The photo below raises an interesting question. Did some of the Stickyback studios offer their clients props to be included in their portraits? The photograph below, 2.9 x 2 inches, appears to have been cut from a strip. No details of the photographer have survived, but it has the date 1918 written on the reverse in manuscript. So which is the most likely explanation - would an apparently well off, well dressed young person with fur hat, muff and stole, have used such a photographer, or is it more likely that the fur accessories were loaned to the subject as props for the photograph? One Stickyback photographer, Abraham Dudkin, was also a furrier!
15 May 2019
The site continues to grow, while individual photographers are proving difficult to research, and many remain only partially identified. Already the pages on Stickyback photographers in England are getting too large and some further sub division is called for. Perhaps this is also the time to divide the UK into regions. Also, Google Analytics have been added to the site today. So far there has been a tiny trickle of visitor feedback about the site, which fortunately is positive in its nature.
Below is a recent unusual find of a pair of Stickybacks, reverses blank, each 2.3 x 1.5 inches, photographer unknown, portraits of an unknown mother and child c.1910?
13 April 2019
The author of this site runs www.fadingimages.uk, a site for local and family historians about photographers in Cambridgeshire 1840-2000. Research on photographers in Peterborough stalled when trying to identify two different early 20th Century photographers who were producing "Stickyback" photographs. Little has been written about the early 20th century photographers who adapted commercial photography to cater for a new mass market in the first quarter of the 20th Century. New inexpensive products, sometimes of dubious quality, provided many with their first experience of being photographed.
Research into the field was starting to skew www.fadingimages.uk from its original purpose and so material on Stickybacks and related topics, covering the whole of the UK, has been moved across to this new site.
This site probably barely scratches the surface of this branch of photography. Please get in touch if you can add in any way to the information and the examples on this site.
www.stickybacks.uk is a non-commercial web site for local and family historians, exploring smaller sized portrait photographs and those who worked in this trade.
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