Eastman: Photography and Simple family Get-togethers Essay

Submitted By AcashRag1
Words: 373
Pages: 2

The great majority of early snapshots were made for personal reasons: to commemorate important events (weddings, graduations, parades); to document travels and seaside holidays (2000.298.3); to record parties, picnics, or simple family get-togethers; to capture the appearance of children, pets, cars, and houses (2000.298.2). The earliest Kodak photographs were printed in a circular format (1997.54), but later models produced a rectangular image, usually printed small enough to be held in the palm of the hand. Most snapshots produced between the 1890s and the 1950s were destined for placement in the family album, itself an important form of vernacular expression (1990.1181; 1996.438ab). The compilers of family albums often arranged the photographs in narrative sequences, providing factual captions along with witty commentary; some albums contain artfully elaborate collages of cut-and-pasted photographs and text, often combining personal snapshots with commercial images clipped from magazines (1998.103).

During the first decade of the twentieth century, a number of serious amateur photographers reacted to the snapshot craze by forming organizations dedicated to promoting photography as a fine art, rather than as a popular pastime or commercial pursuit. The most prominent of these organizations in the United States was the Photo-Secession, founded in 1902 by the photographer, publisher, and gallerist Alfred Stieglitz. To the Pictorialist photographers associated with the Photo-Secession movement, snapshot photography lacked the aesthetic…