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Vintage Glamour: The Kodak Girl

In 1888, photography pioneer and Kodak creator George Eastman perfected the inexpensive and easy to use Kodak camera, aimed towards those who are likeliest to use it--ladies. He supported this with a marketing campaign featuring the young, stylish, and vibrant Kodak Girl.

Kitty Cramer, the first Kodak Girl. Photo via Kodak Collector

The Kodak Girl, introduced as the centerpiece of the company’s marketing campaign in 1893, was the embodiment of George Eastman’s promise; the Kodak camera was such a no-fuss equipment that even the ladies can capture countless memories using the affordable and simple camera.

Young, beautiful, independent, and adventurous, the Kodak Girl was often depicted as holding or taking photos with a Kodak box camera or folding camera outdoors, setting her noticeably apart from the “camera girls” of today. While her modern counterparts are only often seen posing with the camera, the Kodak Girl was always out with her camera and taking photos of the world around her.

Not only an epitome of the adventurous lady photographer, she was also a fashionable one. Through the years, the Kodak Girl was depicted in various magazine ads, promotional posters, and postcards in various stylish attires. According to Nancy Martha West, author of Kodak and the Lens of Nostalgia, by marketing its cameras towards female consumers, Kodak hoped to show how photography was not only “a necessary component of domestic life” but also an “integral part of the world of fashion and feminine beauty.”

Now, let’s take a look at some images of the lovely and stylish Kodak Girl with her equally stunning analogue lovelies:

Sources and additional readings:
George Eastman — Wikipedia
The Kodak Girl — Dateline: Boston 1905
Kodak Girl — The Bigger Picture
Kodak Girls
An Interview with Early Kodak Advertising Collector Martha Cooper —Collectors Weekly
Kodak and the Lens of Nostalgia — University of Virginia Press

What do you think of these lovely vintage Kodak Girls? Tell us what you think below!

This week, Lomography Magazine is dedicated to fashion! Read our editorial articles related to fashion and submit your own Requested Posts for September 2011!

written by plasticpopsicle


  1. emperornorton


    It is so true what the author says about the Kodak Girl's assertiveness with the lens: in most advertising, the woman uses the camera as a kind of fashion accessory or she's out in front of the camera with her kids or wearing a bikini. Women have vision, too. Eastman understood this and celebrated it.

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  2. girl_named_sue


    So true, @emperornorton! So much camera advertising today, particularly geared towards women, is about making yourself look good and creating a glamorous image for yourself. Our culture today is so self-absorbed, so much more about being seen than observing. I much prefer to think of photography as a way of capturing 'the people, the places and the sports you are interested in'

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  3. ibkc


    I would like a framed print of the ad with the woman in the striped dress with the beautiful folder camera.
    I'm gonna comment, too, that along these lines that the LSI's recreated Diana and Diana Mini have taken on lives of their own as fashion accessories among certain young women, rather than as real cameras. I'm not saying that the LSI is pushing them that way, but go to, say, Tumblr and do a keyword search for "Diana F+" and about half or more of the results are pictures OF the camera, or pictures of pretty girls wearing the camera, rather than pictures that people have taken using the camera. Then do the same with "Holga" or "LC-A" and the results are nearly all photos taken *with* the camera, with only the occasional fashion-type result in the mix.
    Which is a shame (about the two Diana cameras), because both cameras can be used to take awesome art photos, and it might be off-putting to some. Or not. I'm just rambling here. ;)

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  4. plasticpopsicle


    Hello everyone, thanks for your comments! I agree that while Eastman saw that women have creative vision and wanted to capture memories, many camera makers and users see the camera today as a fashion tool or status symbol. Maybe it's inevitable, maybe cameras are fashionable in their own right,but perhaps it's up to us to adapt the Kodak Girl persona--pick up that camera, head outdoors, and capture memories and adventures!

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