WThe New York Public Library  /  Photographers’ Identities Catalog  /  MapHelp


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We hope you find PIC intuitive to use, but we understand that you may find some things quirky or confusing. Let us know if you’re having problems, and we’ll consider how we can make PIC more useful for you. In the meantime, here’s a tour of the interface and how to use it.

The screen is divided into three sections: Search and filter the data in the lefthand column, examine (or export) the results in the middle column, and see the geographic distribution of the results on the map to the right. Any of them can be minimized by clicking the X in the upper right of the column.

Search and filter

Search for a photographer or studio in the search bar. If you get too few results, try just a last name or part of a name. If you get too many results, try adding some of the other filters below. Use multiple filters together to get very specific results.

To limit the results by Date, simply type the start and end year in the date boxes beneath the search bar. Note that this function responds to the location type (see below).

Use one of the four Location Type options to see only the Birth, Death, Studio or Active locations. The Date filter (see above) responds to this filter, so you can find any Studio between 1900 and 1910, or anyone born before 1800.

Select a Country to see only results within that country. Please note that boundaries and names may have changed over time. The list includes some obsolete or historical names, as well as some that were never countries at all: Atlantic Ocean, Antarctica, or The Moon.

Nationality should not be confused with Country (see above), as a British national may have been active as a photographer in India, for example. For a fuller discussion of the Nationality designation, see the FAQ.

Gender includes the option of No Gender for studios or other photography-related businesses.

Process includes a list of some common photographic processes, but is by no means exhaustive, and more options will be added in the future. Learn more about processes here.

While most of the names here represent Photographers, some played other Roles such as Manufacturers of photo equipment, or Inventors of processes or equipment important to photography’s history.

Format includes such common 19th and early 20th century photograph formats as Cartes de Visit and Cabinet Cards, Lantern Slides or Stereoscopic photographs. CDVs and Cabinet Cards are usually portraits and are mounted to cardstock roughly the size of a business card (CDV) or a small paperback (Cabinet Card). Lantern slides are images sandwiched between glass and intended for projection. Stereos are two nearly identical images mounted side-by-side which, when viewed through a special viewer produce a 3D effect.

Source lists all the books, websites or documents in which we have found information on each entry. Many of these may have further information not found in PIC, so we encourage you to click through to these sources.

Collections list some museums or libraries known to have work by the photographer, studio or business. We hope to add significantly to this list in the future.

Use In Map Area to see results within a specific area. Click Select Area on Map, then draw a rectangle on the map by clicking and dragging with your mouse across the map. It is helpful to use in conjunction with the Location search bar in the upper right corner of the map if you want to find photographers within a particular city or region.

To remove a filter, simply select Any from that filter’s list. If you’re using multiple filters and want to start over altogether, click Clear All Filters above the search bar.


The results of your search and filtering are displayed as a list in the center column, 50 names at a time. To see more names, scroll to the bottom of the list and click Load 50 More. If you want to save your search results, you can export up to 1000 of them in JSON or GeoJSON format. If you want the entire data set, check out our GitHub page.

Click on a name to see all the data we have collected presented in two tabs, Information and Locations. Links in Information open in a new tab. In the Locations tab you can zoom to or highlight points on the Map. Locations are listed in chronological order. Click Connect Locations to connect the dots, or Go to see a specific place.


The Map visualizes the geographic data for all names shown in the Results column. Text in the upper left corner of the map summarizes these results in plain language. The grid icon in the upper right corner allows you to choose between map views: 2D (by default), globe or 3D view, or oblique view. Changing between these options does not reset your search results. The magnifying glass icon opens the Location Search Bar. Type a city name, landmark, or even street address here to zoom to that location. This does not affect your search results. Use the In Map Area filter in the leftmost column to get results within an area you’ve searched (see above).

In the top right corner of the map, you can click the grid icon to select how you’d like to view the map- flat (default) or as a globe. On the left of this is the location search bar. This lets you zoom to a particular place on the map. This doesn’t affect what information is displayed on the map, it just lets you look at a location up close. In the top left, you’ll find in plain English what the map is showing you. This will change as you click on points or use search or filters in the search column.

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