The origin of the snapshot can be traced to 1888, when George Eastman (American, 1854–1932) began marketing the Kodak #1, a rudimentary box camera that came preloaded with a 100-exposure roll of film. Eastman Kodak Company and its competitors soon introduced more affordable cameras, such as the Brownie (1900), which made photography immensely popular, transforming the look of personal photographs. As cheaper technology allowed for more casual picture taking, amateur photographers increasingly turned to everyday life and leisure as preferred subjects. Camera companies seized on these subjects in their advertisements, which were immensely influential in defining what should be photographed and by whom. Most notable was the 1893 introduction of the young, stylish Kodak Girl, which targeted women as photographers and subjects, encouraging them in the decades that followed to regard snapshot photography as both a fashionable activity and a domestic duty.

Artist unknown. Untitled (Look Pleasant), c. 1910/19. Gift of Peter J. Cohen.

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