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by Maureen A. Taylor

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# Monday, February 25, 2008
Italian Military Picture Part 2
Posted by Maureen

Two weeks ago, I promised a second installment of the blog on the Italian soldier photo. Thank you for commenting on the first column. While I puzzled over the v. Fabio Massimo.83, two of you reminded me that v. stands for via, Italian for the road on which the photographer had his studio.

I'm amazed at the additional material in that postcard and where it led me this week. Gosh! Let's continue reading the evidence.

  • Next to SPQR is an image. Taking a chance, I researched Roman tourist sites. Turns out that columned structure is a monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of unified Italy.  It wasn't inaugurated until 1911, providing another beginning date for this picture.
  • Above the monument is a plume with an interwined EV, which represents the king—either Vittorio Emanuele II or his grandson Vittorio Emanuele III.
  • At the top of the card are portraits of Vittorio Emanuele III (1869-1947) and his wife, Elena (1873-1953), Princess Petrovich of Montenegro. He becamse king July 29, 1900, following the assassination of his father, Umberto. He reigned until he abdicated May 9, 1946. Next to the portraits is the flag of his House of Savoy—red with a white cross.
  • A quick search for secoli fedele made me shout, "I got it!" The phrase "Nei Secoli Fedele" means "always faithful." That phrase on the photo mat identifies the man pictured as a member of the Carabinieri. These men policed both military and civil matters. Follow the link to read more about them and see another picture. 
Remember the owner of the picture, Justin Piccirillo, thought this man was his relative, Costabile Piccirillo ( 1891-1974). This could be him. Judging by the other clues in the image this picture dates to about 1911, when he'd be 20.

Case solved!

PS: I asked a military specialist to take a look at the uniform. I'll report back soon on what he had to say.


1910s photos | men | Military photos | Photos from abroad
Monday, February 25, 2008 10:58:10 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, February 15, 2008
Fun and Simple Photo Editing
Posted by Maureen

I'm a fan of a relatively new website called Picnik.com. It may make you forget expensive photo editing programs even exist. Here's what to love.
  • It's online, Web-based software. All you do is access your pictures on your computer or use the ones you've uploaded to sites such as Flickr.com, Facebook.com, photobucket.com and webshots.com, and those in your Picasa Web albums. Pick a picture to edit and get started

  • It's free. There's a $24.99 upgrade for additional features, but most of the regular editing tools are free. If you want more fonts or creative tools, I recommend signing up for the full version.

  • Picnik's tools work with Macs, Windows and Linux operating systems.

  • It's fun. I played with a couple of pictures to see what could be done. I added shapes, captions and used the editing tools to improve the look of an old photo.

  • This Web-based program has a lot of power. You can sharpen blurry pictures, straighten crooked ones, correct redeye, fix exposure settings and a lot more. You can even resize pictures and select a format for saving (JPG, PNG, TIF, etc.).

  • Finally, once you're done, you can share the images by e-mailing them to family and friends or posting them to a list of Web sites, such as Flickr.
You've got to try this to believe it. While it won't replace the sophisticated programs like Adobe Photoshop, it goes a long way to do more than the basics.

I'd like you to sound off about your favorite photo editing program. For years I used Microsoft's Digital Image Pro, but now that's been discontinued. What do you use to "fix" your pictures? Click Comments and let me know.

Next week I'll be back with more information on our Italian soldier.


preserving photos | Web sites
Friday, February 15, 2008 4:00:58 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Overseas Military Uniforms
Posted by Maureen

Justin Piccirilli is an extremely patient genealogist. He first contacted me back in 2005 about these images, which he thinks depict his great uncle Costabile Piccirillo in a military uniform.

This is part one of a two-part photo identification problem that covers both military history and foreign family photos.

As you probably know from reading past columns, deciphering clues in a military image is a challenge. There were no standard uniforms in the 19th and early 20th century.

This gorgeous portrait shows a young man in a dress uniform. I know it’s a dress uniform because of the white gloves and shiny epaulets at the shoulders. Each metal piece of his uniform is freshly polished for this important portrait.

This full-body picture shows this man at attention with some simple props—a vase of flowers and a doily on a table.

 

Here, just the man’s head is visible in a picture postcard, framed with illustrated symbols of his native land. The photographer hand-colored the plume red and blue. The photo format gives a beginning time frame for the postcard—photo postcards first became available in 1900.


It’s an interesting card. Each symbol is there for a reason. Here’s part one of the breakdown:
  • Underneath the oval portrait are the letters SPQR, which stand for the Latin motto of Rome, Senātus Populusque Rōmānus ("The Senate and the People of  Rome").
  • Beneath the motto, the words Ricordo di Roma translate to  “Souvenir of Rome.” You also can see the sons of Rome, Romulus and Remus, nursing from their wolf mother.
  •  At the bottom is the photographer’s name, G. Tibaldi, with the words fotografia artistica. Under his name is V. Fabio Massimo.83. I think the 83 refers to 1883, perhaps the year he opened his studio, but I’m not familiar with this term. Anyone seen this before?

  •  Along the bottom edge are the words fotografo dei RR.CC and Vietata la Riproduzione. The latter is essentially a copyright statement.

  • Four vignettes around the oval depict famous Roman battles and scenes. 
This identification is a work in progress. I’ll fill you in on more details next time.

men | Military photos | Photos from abroad
Tuesday, February 12, 2008 6:55:06 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [5]
# Monday, February 04, 2008
Share Photos on Flickr
Posted by Maureen

This weekend I finally had time to play with the web photo phenomena known as Flickr. I'm sure some of you have been members for a while and now I know why. It's fun! For those unfamiliar with this very popular way to post, share and create with photos I'll supply the basics. 
  • First—It's free!  You can upgrade to a pro membership for around $24. You create an account using your Yahoo ID and start uploading images. It's that easy.
  • Users choose how public or private they want their albums. Got some you want to share with the world? Pick public. If not, select one of the other options.
  • You can send links to your family and friends so that they can peek at your private albums.
  • Need a photo related present? You can do that to. I suggest taking the Flickr tour to explore what you can do with this site.
Recently the Library of Congress partnered with Flickr to share images from the country's largest photo collection. To access the images, just type library of congress in the search box in the upper right-hand corner. You'll be stunned at the diversity of images in the nation's library. My personal favorites are all the early color pictures. 

Don't be shy. Flickr lets you post comments to each picture.

The response to my call for interesting photo backgrounds is filling my e-mail inbox. I'd like to share more of those images with. I've written to Flickr to see if that's possible and to double-check that creating a group doesn't violate their noncommercial rules. If for some reason Flickr turns down my request, I'll find another way. Keep the pictures coming! 

Next request—Got some curious props in photos? I'd love to see them.

Thanks again.


Photo-sharing sites
Monday, February 04, 2008 5:25:53 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]