Photo Mystery Monday: Know Your Photographer!

Can you identify a photographer just by analyzing the style of the photo? Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange and Annie Liebovitz each have a style that is instantly recognizable. The Florida Photographic Collection also includes some photographers with distinct styles.

These images each have a very similar subject and setting, but they were taken by different photographers. The clues are subtle. Look closely at lighting, props and backgrounds. Also look at the expressions that the photographer chose to capture.




Alvan S. Harper

The images of Tallahassee photographer Alvan S. Harper cover a 26 year period from 1884 to 1910. These photographs provide a visual documentation of Florida’s small 19th century capital and its surrounding communities as they emerged from post-Civil War depression and abruptly moved toward modernity and the turn of the century.

Here are some photos by Alvan Harper:

Richard Parks

Richard Parks was a successful portrait and commercial photographer in Tallahassee, Florida, from the late 1950s until his untimely death in 1974. A self-taught artist well-known for his perfectionism and dedication, Parks used the same older model camera for most of his work, while employing an array of innovative lighting schemes to create unique warmth and intimacy.

Here are some photos by Richard Parks:

Which dog photo goes with which photographer? What are the details that convinced you? Let us know in the comments!


Yes, Photo A is by Alvan S. Harper  and Photo B is by Richard Parks. The same details that you noticed in these images appear in many other Harper and Parks photographs.

Here’s a bonus photo! Do you recognize the photographer? Click on the image to see the catalog record.



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5 thoughts on “Photo Mystery Monday: Know Your Photographer!

  1. I think photo A is an Alvan Harper photo because of the very romanticized background he uses with his subjects. Another indication is how he uses draperies and props. The lighting is defused and spread throughout the cloud forms and throughout the photo. Photo B is Richard Parks photo because of the generic stippling texture of the background and props do not seem to be as important in his photos.The lighting is also centered behind the subject.

  2. Photo A is Alvan Harper – the background is the same as the other photos and the table cover looks identical to the cover in the photo of the child.

    Photo B is Richard Parks – same reasons, backdrop and cover match the cat photo. Though I guessed this at first because the dog didn’t seem like a breed that would be photographed during Alvan Harpers time (were they even photographing pets during that time period?)

  3. I immediately thought that Photo A was by Harper because of the cloudy backdrop and table cover. Parker’s table cover for the cat matches Photo B.

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