Abstract

Abstract:

This essay examines the history of how Kodak (starting at the turn of the century) and Polaroid (starting in the 1950s) marketed amateur photography. It argues that these two corporations were significantly influential not only in selling their products (at one point Kodak had an extraordinary market dominance worldwide), but in actually shaping practices of everyday picture taking. Kodak began by advertising the photographic camera as a modern device for independence and leisure time, focusing on young women, its "Kodak Girls." It then shifted by the 1920s to selling photography as key to the coherence of the American family, establishing the idea of the "Kodak Moment." By contrast, Polaroid marketed its instant photos as a key element of parties and social life, related to sex and art. Because of the market dominance of these two brands, they were highly influential in the broader practices of amateur photography throughout the twentieth century. This essay explores how, with the rise of digital photography and the demise of Kodak and Polaroid, advertising is less influential in shaping photographic practices. It looks at a number of recent campaigns and explores how Google, Instagram, Facebook, and Apple, with social media networks and mobile phone cameras, are the forces shaping photographic practices today.

Additional Information

ISSN
2475-1790
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-03
Open Access
No
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