Midland Railway locomotive, 1904.
© NMeM / Kodak Collection / Science & Society
A snapshot photograph of a Midland Railway worker opening the smoke box door of a steam locomotive, taken by an unknown photographer in 1904. The locomotive has just stopped since the box is still full of smoke from the fire. Originally a shooting term, 'snapshot' began to acquire a photographic meaning in the late 1850s. The marketing of the first Kodak camera in 1888 made popular photography available to the masses and the term 'snapshot' became more widespread. Eventually the term 'snapshot' became linked to photographs taken by non-experts with simple cameras. Such 'snapshots' record the more informal and personal aspects of everyday life often overlooked by professional photographers.