• Two women with a camera looking out over a desert landscape. Lyle, Charles Nourse. Courtesy of the University of Kentucky via the Kentucky Digital Library.

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    Two women with a camera looking out over a desert landscape
    • Creator
    • Lyle, Charles Nourse
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    • This digital resource may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Physical rights are retained by the owning repository. Copyright is retained in accordance with U. S. copy... more
      This digital resource may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Physical rights are retained by the owning repository. Copyright is retained in accordance with U. S. copyright laws. Please go to http://kdl.kyvl.org for more information. less
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  • Kodaks and Kodak Supplies, Eastman Kodak Company. Rochester, N.Y. : The Company, 1904. Courtesy of Harvard University via HathiTrust.

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    Kodaks and Kodak Supplies
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    • 1904
    • Creator
    • Eastman Kodak Company.
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    • Public domain. Learn more at http://www.hathitrust.org/access_use
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    • HathiTrust
    • Contributing Institution
    • Harvard University.

Due to several breakthrough developments in camera production, photography soon began to shift from a professionally-dominated field to an amateur-friendly pastime. The invention of a gelatin dry plate in 1871, for example, helped photographers create quality images faster and more easily than ever before. It eliminated the need for a tripod and strict posing, allowing for more candid photography.

While Eastman Kodak Company was not the only business producing cameras at the end of the nineteenth century, they spearheaded many of the crucial innovations that led to modern photography. Kodak made its consumer debut with the easy-to-use Box Camera in 1888, using the advertising slogan “you press the button – we do the rest.” The camera had a fixed-focus lens and one shutter speed, making it easy to use.

This was followed the next year by roll film, which was introduced as an alternative to bulky photographic plates. Photo processing became standardized as well. The Kodak Box Camera was even pre-loaded with a hundred photos-worth of film. Once the exposures were done, users would send the camera back to the manufacturer to be processed and re-loaded. In 1902, the Kodak Developing Machine, which eliminated the need for a formal darkroom, hit the market. This machine allowed photographers to develop their pictures at home, making the camera ready for everyone.