Reading about the dire straits of this once great company made me sad. I thought about all the pictures I have taken and all those old photographs I have looked at. I thought about those old tattered and faded black and whites in the shoebox….like this one of my Mother from the early 1930’s
And this one of my Dad’s Mother and Father taken about 1906, three years after they had come through Ellis Island to arrive at their new life in Ohio from Wales. Dad was not in the picture. He was born three years later in 1910.
Here is one of Dad…a young man on the farm in 1931. It had to be from a Kodak….he’s third from the left with three of his brothers on the right and my Grandfather on the left end
What would be in the shoebox if it had not been for George Eastman? Would someone else have come along with a camera that only cost $1, a camera so easy to operate a child could do it? Would I now have these treasures? It seems to me that in some way the world would be different. In this other universe I might not have these memories. This led me to thinking about some of the cameras I’ve had.
My first photos were simple black and whites from some inexpensive camera but, as hard as I tried I could not remember just what it looked like. I was only 11 or 12 and it must have been a simple Kodak. Anything beyond a simple “Brownie” would have been out of reach for us.
I do remember my first “serious” camera. The first pictures I have from it were taken in June 1957. They were slides. I leaned toward slides for many years because if you had a projector the images seemed so real. I recall paying about $55 for it which was way above my pay grade as a very poor sophomore in college. Below are some photos of this camera made in Germany by Balda. The Super Baldina Rangefinder.
Sometime along in there I got another camera, one with a bit more sophistication like an auto focus feature, but I think these slides were all taken with the Balda.
If Kodak hadn’t made a cheap camera that almost every family could afford would we have these shoe boxes filled with treasures today? I don’t know but it would not be the same. Taking pictures of the kids and family on special occasions became part of our culture in America. I think we have the genius of George Eastman to thank for it.
Here is a really cute site produced by Kodak in 2000 on the 100th anniversary of the “brownie”. A bit of nostalgia.