You press the button, we do the rest

Thomas Crellin and students at the Kodak Professional School, Shanghai, 1923, Crellin collection, DC-s01

Here then is ‘the rest’: at this Kodak Professional School in Shanghai in 1923, students are learning to spool and process negatives, enlarge, develop, fix and dry prints, then guillotine and dry mount them – the skilful practical application of the complex interplay of light, time, optics, chemicals, celluloid and paper – training for a career in a photographer’s shop, or maybe as a photographer (DC-s01).  Tommy Crellin (on the left) guides and presides.  Some of the photographs that passed through these students’ hands, may well have passed through ours here too.

Kodak famously made photography accessible to all, by simplifying and popularising, by innovation, and by maintaining a very profitable business plan, which allowed for profits to be ploughing back into research and development.  The age of the snapshot began in 1889, when Kodak’s first camera was launched by George Eastman.

Hugely successful, snaps became one of the most telling forms of visual documentation of the twentieth century (As Graham King put it in a bon mot: “I snap, therefore I am” René Cartes de Visite).  These photographs are now especially valuable to historians, as well as to families and nostalgists.

Click, click, click, thanks Kodak, for all the memories.

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