Friday, August 2, 2019

Snapshots of History

Photography has been around since the early 1800s, but for the first 100 years, it was mainly used by professionals and the wealthy. Older techniques were labor-intensive, requiring specialized equipment and expert knowledge. Eastman Kodak released the first film camera in 1888, but at $25 (roughly $650 today) it remained prohibitively expensive.

Brownie 2 camera
Eastman Kodak finally brought photography to the masses with the introduction of the Brownie camera in 1900. Retailing for just $1, it was initially marketed to children but became popular with adults as well. By 1905 Kodak had sold 10 million Brownies.

This democratized photography. Now ordinary men and women could take photos of the people and places that mattered to them. These candid shots feel more real because we can see people going about their lives much like we do today - maybe even in the same places.

RCPL's digital photo archive preserves our history by showing where and how the people of Russell County lived, worked, played, and worshipped. And we want you to help! Saturday, August 24, is Photo Scan Day. Bring your old photographs in to be scanned. We'll add the digital photo to our archive, give you a digital copy and a new print copy as well. We're especially interested in places like churches, schools, and businesses.

We'll be open an extra two hours until 5 PM for Photo Scan Day, so please come and help us preserve our shared history!


Contributed by Katie Gilmer