We will be posting updates online every few weeks to better understand the changes in camera technology that are visible in our new exhibit Kodak: Capturing Moments in Time. You can visit the Stevens County Historical Society to see Kodak cameras ranging from approximately 1907-1984. Changes in camera form and function show a clear evolution from the first boxy cameras all the way to instant cameras, including changes in technology and design fads. We see art deco designs in 1930s, smooth Bakelite cases in the 1940s and 50s, and blocky shapes with gold accents in the 1980s. There are cameras that use single shot film, film rolls that we still see today, and even Kodak’s failed disc film. All cameras on display use film – no digital cameras are featured. And while we do have Kodak video cameras, they will not be on exhibit.
As for the focus on one brand – just like today, Kodak was a popular and readily available brand. They were among the first to make personal and easy-to-use cameras. We have Kodak cameras from a variety of donors, but the majority of our cameras, both in the exhibit and in the collection in general, come from one person. According to our records, “Ed Dablow worked for Monroe Photos from 1950-1958. He took a 2 year leave during the Korean War when he volunteered for the Army. This collection is a mix of his personal photograph equipment and cameras that were given to him.” Dablow’s donation consists of 65 objects, from cameras to photo processing equipment, 38 of which are Kodak. Even some utilitarian objects such as a photo cutter (similar to a standard paper cutter) are Kodak brand. And by staying within one company, it is easier to see what modifications are due to changes in technology and form over time rather than just differences between companies.
Come see these changes for yourself! Kodak: Capturing Moments in Time will be on display until April 2017. And check back for the latest blog posts as we explore camera history and technology.