With the introduction of the Kodak Brownie camera in 1900, amateur photography grew in popularity. Almost immediately, people personalized their pictures by fearlessly writing directly on them; names, dates, stories and witticisms written on borders or across the image, along with arrows, numbers, cartoonish circles drawn around eyes, and faces scribbled or cut out, are a few examples of the ways people ensured their snapshots expressed personal sentiments and stories. Crudely personalized and written on vintage photographs are often funny, surprising and oddly endearing.
All images are courtesy of Barbara Levine
View Barbara Levine’s online exhibit Small Stories: Defaced and Captioned Snapshots right here. Barbara Levine is a collector, artist and dealer specializing in vernacular photography and unusual collections. She is the author of Finding Frida Kahlo (Princeton Architectural Press, 2009), Around The World: The Grand Tour in Photo Albums and Snapshot Chronicles: Inventing the American Photo Album (both Princeton Architectural Press 2007 and 2005).3 Comments