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Press photograph

Press photographs are photographic prints made by professional photographers for publication in magazines and newspapers. Information is sometimes written on the rear of the press photo, for example about the newspaper or magazine in which the photo appeared, date of publication, photo dimensions or a description of the subject photographed.

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Prints from the 1970s in particular are at risk of becoming badly damaged – that’s when RC paper, a less stable type of photographic paper, came into use.

Did you know …

… some press photographers used anti-preservation agents that caused the prints to decay faster? They did this to dissuade theft, and many publicity stills are therefore heavily discoloured. So, if you have a press photo, you should get it digitised as soon as possible.

Not to be confused with: film still

Film stills are photographic prints measuring 24 x 30 cm, which are taken by professional photographers on TV and film sets. The prints were used from the 1940s as promotional materials for all sorts of films and TV programmes in America and Europe. They were hung in showcases at cinemas using thumb tacks, so your film still might have small holes in the corners.

Read all about film stills here:

Did you know …

… lots of film stills are collectors’ items today? You can often find them on online auction sites, sometimes selling for large sums of money. Film stills can also have lot of heritage value.

Film Still, Studio photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons, cropped
Film Still, United Artists, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons, cropped
Film, still, Britannica, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons, cropped

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