Monday, October 06, 2014

Photo Consultation with Maureen Taylor

I spent yesterday afternoon with Maureen Taylor, the Photo Detective.

Well, actually, it was part of an afternoon and we spoke on the phone – she at home in Rhode Island and me at home in British Columbia. I should also add that Maureen had been scheduled to speak last weekend at the Kelowna and District Genealogical Society’s conference (in Kelowna, British Columbia), as well as do photo consultations during that time. (See Off to Kelowna for a Genealogy Conference.) Unfortunately, she had to cancel her appearance almost at the last minute. Instead, she offered to do phone sessions for those who had pre-booked with her. I still wanted my photos looked at, so I emailed her and we picked a day and time for us to meet on the telephone.

I chose three family photographs and emailed digital copies to Maureen ahead of time. There were a picture of my grandfather Fred Belair (possibly in the 1920s), one of his father Pierre (possibly in the 1870s), and one of my grandmother Julie’s siblings (about 1920).

Maureen started with the photo of my Pépère Fred. (I’ve already featured this particular photo on my blog about two years ago; see Sepia Saturday: 3 November 2012.) I gave her some background information about when and where he worked during his early years, and told her that the picture was a photo of a rather small photo.

Fred Belair
Fred Belair (centre, in light overcoat and hat)

Maureen explained that the men in it were of various ages, that they were well dressed, and that although the flat caps some of them wore stayed in fashion for a long time, the fact that they were oversized and “big floppy hats [made them] common in 1918”. She felt that these were average people who had possibly “been out and about” when they were photographed. It was difficult to say if the picture was taken in Canada or in the USA. (I told her that Fred had once told me that he had worked in Wisconsin and Minnesota shipyards during World War I.) As for why they might have posed among logs, she said that people were photographed in all kinds of places.

Maureen then spent a good amount of time analyzing the next two photos. I loved how she pointed out bits of details that were obvious to her but that I had missed whenever I had looked at them.

I don’t know if Maureen could tell that I had big smile on my face as she spoke and that I found everything she shared with me so fascinating and helpful!

I really got my money’s worth during the consultation. I highly recommend Maureen Taylor and her photo expertise!

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, Ellie. Chatting with and learning from Maureen was a great experience!