Faded memories… collecting vintage press photographs

My hubby and I have a new hobby… collecting old press photographs. Collecting vintage photography is a journey of discovery. With such a large variety to choose from, it can seem like a difficult task to find a good starting point. For us… we buy what we like, we don’t have a special subject we have an interest in. The photographs we already bought are old press photos for newspapers or magazines.

These photos are still affordable in price

They do show their age – markings on the front and back, folded corners, …
Our photographs are also stamped on the back with dates and descriptions. It is those dates and descriptions we so much like… words from bygone times… our imagination runs wild…

London beginning 20th century
Guarding against the rising waters of the Thames, River Embankment, London
January 15th 1929

Southern France invad
American troops and mechanized units go ashore somewhere on the southern coast of France on D-day

Their are several things which add to the rarity and value of vintage photographs:

  • scarcity: fewer copies means greater value
  • condition: as few imperfections as possible (e.g. creases, tears,…)
  • original or reprint: look for photos with a date stamp
  • print date: you want an image printed as close to the creation of the negative
  • the photographer
  • subject 


Vintage press photos are very popular as a collector’s item these days. You probably shouldn’t collect photographs for financial gain. Collect them because you love the history of it, you like the theme or because the work is of a particular photographer.
Like many other things… the thrill is in the chase.