Processing and Printing Photographs in 1896

The Amateur Photographer
By the 1890s, many gentlemen and ladies were camera hobbyists. It took both time and money to be a successful photographer, even as an amateur. The emerging group of art photographers resisted the simplified new cameras, like the Kodak, opting for dry plate cameras. They created and manipulated their images in well-equipped darkrooms. Amateurs could experiment with new techniques and styles more readily than commercial professionals who relied on photography, mostly portraiture, for financial support.


Darkroom equipment from the 1890s
Darkroom equipment from the 1890s

The Snapshot Photographer
The small, portable Kodak camera, introduced in the late 1880s, and later known as the Brownie, made snapshot photography popular. Anyone could operate it and the camera was marketed to the general public in popular magazines. The Eastman Dry Plate and Film Company (later the Eastman Kodak Company) used the slogan "You press the button, we do the rest." After taking the pictures--100 exposures on each roll--the film was sent to the company for developing, leaving the time-consuming darkroom work to professionals.

Ad for the 1888 Kodak Brownie
Ad for the 1888 Kodak Brownie

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