One of the most asked questions I get is: How do you know what is a George Masa Photo?
I'm going to give you the short answer and some visuals to help. These are not definitive, but helpful.
If you are looking at an original, intact photos, most (but not all) have some identification on them. Usually in a lower corner. The strongest indicator of a photo by George Masa is his numbering system and his handwriting. Here is an example.
This is an example of a photo that was taken by Masa sometime between 1920 and his death in 1933. Based on the numbering system and its relation to some events he photographed and correspondence where he cited numbers we can roughly 'date' a photo.
Another sign that Masa may have taken the photo would be a stamp on the back of one of his companies, Asheville Photo Company was one of his longer lasting companies, and in the early 1930's he often stamped the back of photos with that stamp.
Another sign of a possible Masa photo is the handwritten ID of Plateau Studios.
Masa ran this business in the early 1920's and then sold it around 1925. The name was used after he sold the business, but the distinctive sign (sometimes with a number, sometimes without) seems to be only from the period when Masa was the primary photographer at work.
As I mentioned, there are other indicators of a possible Masa photo, subject matter, quality and composition are other indicators. Since these are less precise and harder to describe I'm not going to elaborate. But feel free to post photos for me and other Masa researchers to evaluate. This is one reason I'm starting this blog.
Finally, in my next post I'll talk about Elliot Lyman Fisher, and how his stamp (shown below) may connect us to photos of Masa that are not labeled with any other 'Masa' brand.