Snapshot photograph of a beauty contest, c 1930.

Snapshot photograph of a beauty contest, c 1930.
2 9 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 21cm


A line of women wearing swimsuits pose for the photographer. Some women wear sashes printed with the word 'Windsor' and a Union flag. Cotton printed bathing suits, often with little over-skirts to hide the thighs, gradually replaced heavier 1920's style swimwear. By the 1930s, swimsuits became more contoured to the figure. Beauty pageants were common features of holiday resorts in Britain in the mid twentieth century. Seaside holidays were a popular place to 'see and be seen', and beauty contests enthusiastically drew on this tradition. 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.

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© Kodak Collection / National Science & Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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