Throughout the whole of the Meiji period and beyond, many studios in Japan issued souvenir albums of photographs. Unfortunately, many of these albums did not indicate the name of the studio. It was, therefore, difficult to attribute authorship of the images to either a particular studio or photographer. However, the vast majority of the photographs displayed descriptive captions and numbers on the face of the prints. A small percentage of the albums did indicate the studio - with a title page or the name and address wet-stamped onto the back of the front cover. Starting in the early 1980s, I began to record the captions and numbers of those photographs contained in albums whose studios were identified. I also started to document those albums which were not identified. In those days Japanese souvenir albums were relatively common. Within a few years, I was able to list photographs appearing in several hundreds of albums. Number patterns quickly emerged, and I was able to identify an increasing number of studios. I published the results in my 1996 book Early Japanese Images where some 1,200 photographs were matched with their studios. In 2006 I published an expanded list of 4,000 in Old Japanese Photographs: Collectors’ Data Guide. If you are interested in that list you can CLICK HERE to download the full PDF. These have been further supplemented below. However, many gaps remain and a few studios are yet to be identified. In producing the list below, I would like to encourage anyone with numbers which do not appear to send in a copy so that they may be added. This would help collectors, researchers and photo-historians.
Souvenir Albums - Numbers List and Attribution Issues