Vintage Glamour shots were not the Selfies of today. We are now in the digital age. A selfie is a self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a digital camera or camera phone held at arm’s length by the subject, or taken in a mirror. These images are often casual and shared on social networking services such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. Photographic self-portraiture is a wildly popular technique today because of the debut in 1900 of the portable Kodak Brownie box.
In 1888, photography pioneer and Kodak creator George Eastman perfected the inexpensive and easy to use Kodak camera, aimed towards those who were likeliest to use it—women. The Kodak Girl, introduced as the centerpiece of the company’s marketing campaign in 1893, was the embodiment of George Eastman’s promise; the Kodak camera was such a no-fuss equipment that even the ladies can capture countless memories using the affordable and simple camera. Young, beautiful, independent, and adventurous, Kitty Cramer was often depicted as holding or taking photos with a Kodak box camera or folding camera outdoors while her modern counterparts are mostly seen posing for the camera, the Kodak Girl was always out with her camera and taking photos of the world around her.
Kitty wan not only an epitome of the adventurous lady photographer, she was also a fashionable one. Through the years, the Kodak Girl was depicted in various magazine ads, promotional posters, and postcards in various stylish attires. According to Nancy Martha West, author of Kodak and the Lens of Nostalgia, by marketing its cameras towards female consumers, Kodak hoped to show how photography was not only “a necessary component of domestic life” but also an “integral part of the world of fashion and feminine beauty.”
George Eastman was a visionary who recognized that it is because of a women’s creative soul that she is eager to capture memories. He recognized that it is usually the matriarchs that are the keepers of the family heirlooms. China, linens, journals and of course photographs are lovingly handed from one generation to the next. It is unfortunate that the spirits that travel with these artifacts do not often declare their importance until a woman is entering her autumn season. It is then that heirlooms seem to reveal their value in emotional wealth. Are today’s photo’s destined to become tomorrow’s heirlooms, or doomed to wither and die in digital perpetuity? Perhaps it’s up to us to adapt the Kodak Girl persona–pick up that camera and set out to capture memories and adventures!
Picture was reproduced by permission of the AP/Wide World Photos to www.referenceforbusiness.com