Dating vintage prints


Prints are professionally printed, stretched and wrapped on wood frames. Looking to purchase digital files of one of our old vintage photos to use as stock photography for a digital project or simply to print your own picture at home? Most of our photos have a 'high res digital file' option for purchasing.We use the highest quality canvas, printers, protective spray, and Heavy Duty Strecher bars. All files available for download have public domain rights of usage.“Vintage” is a term in photography that has both a very specific meaning, and unfortunately a slightly ambiguous definition when putting it into practice. These would be considered “vintage” by most collectors and critics, but is it representative of the term?A “vintage” print is a print that is made around the time the negative was made, which is pretty clear. If you say one year date, why that year and not the next, or the previous? With Ansel’s work, not only is the basic question confounding, but Ansel himself was notorious for not remembering the dates of negatives, and generally didn’t date the print until the late 1970s. The negative of Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, was made in 1927; would a print made in 1932 still be considered “vintage”?As in all cases, each collector needs to reflect on his or her preferences, and make individual relative value judgments.Bishop Pass, the Inconsolable Range, a vintage photograph by Ansel Adams. It isn’t scientific, but we think reasonable given how information on those prints is either very definitive (1927 Parmelian Print portfolio, 1930 Sierra Club Outing) or not at all (Monolith on parchment paper, no letterpress title). Photographs printed in the 1930s tend to be dated more often based on the mount board material and the label or stamp on the reverse.



We hope these treasures will inspire and renew this and future generations.

In the absence of purchase documentation, we have to go by labels for date periods; the best research on this matter is by Haas & Senf, Museum of Fine Arts Boston. The well-known images from late in Ansel’s career, Aspens, Northern New Mexico and Moon and Half Dome have a few image idiosyncrasies that help identify the prints as vintage.