Souvenir seller on the beach, c 1905.
© NMeM / Kodak Collection / Science & Society
A snapshot photograph of a beach scene taken in about 1905 by an unknown photographer. A beach is busy with holidaymakers and souvenir sellers, boats are berthed behind. In the background stands a beach photographer by his camera, tripod and portable darkroom. For many years beach photographers were a common sight at the seaside. Many people would not have access to a personal camera. Beach photographers took cheap, often technically poor, 'while-you-wait' portraits as souvenirs. At best, however, they produced immediate, informal images of people relaxing on holiday, contrasting sharply with the formality of studio photography. Originally a shooting term, the word 'snapshot' was first linked with photography in the late 1850s, when it was used to describe a photograph taken with a brief exposure. Over time, snapshot came to mean any amateur photograph taken with a simple camera.