English Photography: Snapshots

English snapshot
Figure 1.--Here we see an English snapshot with a white margin, common to snapshots in the first half of the 20th century. This one was taken in 1932.

A snapshot is a casual, informal photograph which an amateur takes quickly, typically with a small handheld camera. They can be taken by ordinary people with no training or expertise, althouh a little competence helps with the results. And unlike 19th century photography, the costs were modest. The snapshot was essentially invented in America by Kodak. It was the Kodak Brownie that changed everything (1900). Soon comanies in Britain and other counties offered a similar camera and service. All you had to do was point and shoot. Gradually more complicated cameras appeared which permitted improved results. But baically family photograph was invented. We no longer see just studio scenes, but photographs showing the family at home and all the various activities in and around the home and the varios family events away from honme. Few of the new photographers prited their own photographs. It was done commercially. The various prints provide clues as to when the photographs were taken. Many early snapshots were done with post card backs. The size, format, borders, and edges had different time frames when they were popular, just like the CDV/cabinet card mounts. The white borders like the snapshot here were common in the first half of the 20th century. The width of the borders varied. The borders were caused by theneed to hold the photographic paper flat. The width of the borders varied. Thus they can be used to help date the many undated images we have found.


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Created: 7:17 PM 3/9/2019
Last updated: 7:17 PM 3/9/2019