The first task of the week was to write about one inventor that contributed to the art of photography.
I chose to write about George Eastman, the founder of The Eastman Kodak Company, also simply known as Kodak.
The American George Eastman was a self-taught chemist, who started out making dry plates for photography in his spare time. Eventually he developed a lightweight, rollable photographic film to replace the plates. This invention led to the creation of the first handheld camera, which marks the point when photography became accessible to the masses. Up until this point, cameras had been large and heavy, and required skilled professionals to develop the pictures using chemicals. Now, with the small, compact Kodak camera — which came pre-loaded with film-prints for 100 pictures — the customer only had to mail or deliver the camera back to the factory or a Kodak store to have their images processed and sent in return. As the advertisement for the Kodak camera said: “You press the button, we do the rest”. Previous cameras also required that the user manually replaced a glass-plate for each picture taken. With the Kodak camera, photographers would only have to roll the film to the next frame, and the camera was ready to capture another picture.
In 1900, photography was really brought into the mainstream by the introduction of the Kodak Brownie. This camera was way more affordable than the previous model, which expanded the market drastically. The Kodak cameras was so simple that anyone could use them, and the new Brownie was even markedet towards children.
Eastman’s Kodak company would grow to become the leader in photography equipment. In the mid 70’s Kodak owned most of both the film and the camera market in the United States. Kodak became a worldwide success and the name has become synonymous with photography. Eastman’s invention has contributed largely to the art of photography by simplifying the process of taking and processing photos. Roll film was also the basis for other inventions, such as motion picture. Through his company, Eastman made photo equipment accessible to the masses, and thus, lead the way for photography to become a hobby and an artistic medium for ordinary people, and a way for them to capture their memories.