Girl with Cracker

Snapshots have changed with time. People’s tastes have shifted, and technical innovation has altered the cameras people use. In 1963, the Eastman Kodak Company introduced the Instamatic, an easy-load, inexpensively-produced plastic camera for which color or black-and-white film came pre-loaded in a cartridge. The camera accepted a flash-cube, enabling one to make photographs under nearly all conditions. The snapshot of the little girl with a cracker is a good example of the camera’s output.

The frame was a perfect square. The flash-cube allowed for illumination of the subject even—as in this case—under the shadow of a large tree. The camera’s optics also allowed the photographer to get much closer to the subject than earlier equipment had allowed. The square frame, the even illumination, and the strong colors speak of the change this camera brought to the snapshot.

The content stayed the same. Most snapshots speak of family and friends; so does this image. The girl looks like an angel from a painting in a Baroque church; this kinship points to the visual traditions that define us.

Maine Sardine Council Collection