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Matinee: 'Photography' Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

7 December 2013

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the tenth in our series of Saturday matinees today: Photography, a survey of career opportunities in the industry in 1946.

We know it's a busy time of year, so we thought we'd keep it short (just under 10 minutes) and light (1946? really?). But when we watched this Vocational Guidance Films production written by Arthur P. Twogood (really?), a professor of Vocational Education at Iowa State, we wished it was a bit longer. Really.

The appeal of this film isn't just seeing those 1940s models under the hot lights or the elaborate mid-century gear or even how laborious the whole process was (there's a darkroom sequence).

It's the sense of adventure.

The opening sequence, framed in a lens-shaped mask which must have enthralled our ancestors, starts with the observation of photography as "the universal hobby" anyone can do and understand. But it can, the narrator hints, become a career, too.

The film then describes every possible occupation involving photography. Not just the various "specialists" with cameras in their hands but photo retouchers, "picture editors" and even camera store clerks (ah, remember them?). Nobody escapes.

Some of the specialties are quaintly named, adding even more charm to the narration. Product photography is referred to as illustrative photography, for example. And the woody the commercial photographer (who is "a jack of all trades," according to the narration) is not to be missed as he sets up a tripod to shoot a real estate shot.

Photography schools, exhibitions and magazines are highlighted as helpful learning aides, as well.

There's even a nice wrap-up that suggests your success in the field depends on your "abilities and inclinations." And if you're so inclined, it might be worth investigating as a career.

A very entertaining idea, don't you think? And just in time for a New Year's resolution, too.

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