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| p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · How the Cell Phone Killed Real Photography... |
For those wanting a little perspective on this topic, I recommend perusing some of the photography books and articles in the Internet Archive ( www.archive.org ).
One I found was "Sunlight and Shadow: A book for photographers amateur and professional" by W. I. Lincoln Adams, published 1897.
I found the chapter titled "The Hand Camera" (page 69) particularly interesting. Here are some excerpts:
Quote from Alfred Stieglitz: "Photography as a fad is well nigh on its last legs, thanks principally to the bicycle craze. Those seriously interested in its advancement do not look upon this state of affairs as a misfortune, but as a disguised blessing, inasmuch as photography had been classed as a sport by nearly all of those who deserted its ranks and fled to the present idol, the bicycle."
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It was undoubtedly, due to the hand camera that photography became so generally popular a few years ago. (Remember that this is being written in 1897) Every Tom, Dick and Harry could, without trouble, learn how to get something or other on a sensitive plate, and this is what the public wanted - no work and lots of fun.
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The climax was reached when an enterprising firm flooded the market with a very ingenious hand camera and the announcement, "You press the button, and we do the rest." This was the beginning of the "photographing-by-the-yard" era, and the ranks of enthusiastic button pressers were enlarged to enormous dimensions. The hand camera ruled supreme.
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He (the author) frankly confesses that for many years he belonged to that class which opposed its (the hand camera's) use for picture making.
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I remember how, upon having developed the negative of the picture (using the hand camera), I showed it to some of my colleagues. They smiled and advised me to "throw away such rot." "Why, it isn't even sharp, and he wants to use it for an enlargement!"
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Most of my successful work of late has been produced by this method (using the hand camera). My experience has taught me that the prints from the direct negatives have but little value as such. The hand camera has come to stay - its importance is acknowledged. A word to the wise is sufficient.
Direct link to that chapter of the book: