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Secret Exposure: The Kodak and the Victorian Age of Hidden Cameras

Essay written for academic practice in media archaeology at the University of Oslo. 

Full text: https://elements.media/kodak.html


“In this essay I will be taking the Kodak camera, the first widely successful hand-held camera for a general public in the late 19th century, as a point of departure. The text will examine how the apparatus primarily relates to linkages in the history of surreptitious photographing, embodied in the term “detective cameras”, rather than a history of technical development for the sake of convenience and democratization of the photographic process. I will be relating it to a phenomenon of amateur photography that traversed moral and ethical boundaries in civil society, the development of a new consciousness on the aesthetics of the medium, as well as a non-aesthetic development more inclined toward archiving, control and surveillance of the public. These subjects will, in particular, be geographically limited to the social context of Britain during the time frame of 1880-1900, albeit with a few exceptions.“

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