History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days. ~Winston Churchill

22 December, 2012

The Start of Snapshots

In 1888 the first Kodak camera came out, allowing anyone (who could afford the initially high price) to take their own photographs, regardless of skill. The camera came pre-loaded with film, and after exposure you sent it to Eastman Kodak in Rochester. They sent you the camera back, re-loaded, along with your prints. All you had to do was press the button. The world of photography would never be the same.

Snapshots from the Kodak Number One and Number Two, 1888-1890. Those from the Library of Congress (taken in Washington DC) are all by Uriah Hunt Painter, an avid snapshooter. The original photographs aren't black and white, they're the same dark purple-brown and cream as the ones from the National Media Museum (gold-toned gelatin printing-out paper); they were photographed in black and white for reproduction.


Library of Congress

A man and boy in front of the treasury, Washington DC. Source



National Media Museum

Children wading in the sea. Source



Library of Congress

A little girl in riding clothes, Washington DC. Source




Library of Congress

A waffle vendor by the US Treasury, Washington, DC. Source




National Media Museum

A woman reading. Source



Library of Congress

A goat-drawn cart, Washington DC. Source



Library of Congress

A man on a bicycle in Washington DC. Source



National Media Museum

A woman at a market. Source




National Media Museum

Children on a balcony. Source



National Media Museum

Two men on a ship's deck. Source



National Media Museum

Two children on a settee. Source



Library of Congress

A woman and girl in an icy square, Washington, DC. Source



Library of Congress

Two boys on horses, Washington DC. Source



Library of Congress

A water pump on the street in Washington DC. Source




National Media Museum

An itinerant beach photographer. Source



Library of Congress

A horse-drawn sleigh, Washington DC. Source



National Media Museum

A man reading on a balcony. Source



Library of Congress

A little girl on the sidewalk, Washington DC. Source



Library of Congress

The man on the left holds the same Kodak camera used to make these pictures. Washington, DC. Source


3 comments:

Honeysuckelle said...

These are so great, I love the woman with her hand on her hip at the Market. I live about 30 minutes outside D.C so I can't help but look at the city in the background in the pictures and think where was/is this?!

<3Honeysuckelle

Rob From Amersfoort said...

I never realized these very old snapshots were round. Apparently this format was chosen 'to ensure that the photographer didn’t have to hold the camera exactly level with the horizon, and to compensate for the poor image quality at the corners of the image.'

Anna said...

The cameras they used--Number One and Number Two Kodak-- also had no viewfinder, so it helped to have a pretty wide margin of error. Kodak has always been devoted to finding ways to minimizing the failures of snapshots, so people enjoy the process more... and buy more film!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Search This Blog

Loading...