By MICHAEL PERKINS
GIVEN THAT FAMILY HOLIDAYS ARE THE MOST OBVIOUS AND LONG-STANDING of motivations for capturing images, it would probably be safe to guess that Christmas Day has launched more photographers, over the decades, than any other single date on the calendar. Not that we ever had much choice.
As the world’s first super-sized photo gear supplier, the Eastman Kodak Company had barely tiptoed into the 20th century when it began to craft ad campaigns that tied the Happiest of Days with the Best Way To Make Memories. Print ads encouraged families not to merely experience holiday joy but to freeze-frame it with a camera. Don’t have one yet? What a great gift idea! See our full-color flyer…
About a year ago, I began an annual tradition in December posts of The Normal Eye by showcasing color magazine ads from Kodak’s longest-running promotion, the “Open Me First” campaign of the 1950’s and ’60’s, which put forth the idea that the good times can’t really start unless (a) you’ve received a Kodak camera for Christmas, and (b) loaded it and used it to chronicle all the other “ordinary” presents as they’re unwrapped. The ads always gave you an additional nudge by showing Dad or Mom snapping away as the kids tore into their loot, along with a mini-catalogue photomontage of Kodak’s latest year-end offerings. Remember slides and movies? Heck, remember prints?
This year, I’m also linking to one of the company’s most heartwarming TV ads of the period, entitled “Turn Around”. Watch it here, and, I warn you, keep the Kleenex close. You’ll need it.
My first camera was also a Christmas gift, and while that doesn’t count as a legitimate “birth of a great photographer” origin story, it did serve as launch day on a habit that has never ceased to thrill, surprise, and challenge me. Without that first little 620 box camera, I might be filling the pages of this blog with thrilling stories of Marlins I Reeled In Off The Keys or Great Wood-carvers I Have Known. As it turns out, I’m pretty happy right here.