Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

George Eastman and the Kodak Camera

George Eastman and the Kodak Camera

Jennifer Fandel
Illustrator:  Gordon Purcell , Al Milgrom 
Nonfiction Graphic Novel  Series
For ages 7 to 9
Capstone Press, 2007   ISBN: 978-0736868488

George Eastman got interested in photography quite by chance. A friend suggested that he take photos of some pieces of land that George was thinking of buying. George never bought the land but he did get the photography bug. It took some time to learn how to take and develop photographs and George found the process wearisome. The equipment was heavy, and developing the glass plates that the cameras used was not easy. There had to be a less undemanding way to take photographs.

For the next three years George worked in a bank during the day and on the photography problem at night. With a friend's financial help George created a machine that would evenly coat glass plates in an emulsion which would dry quickly. These new plates would be easier to use than the old wet plates which were messy and time sensitive. He got a patent for his machine and started his "Eastman Dry Plate Co." which became very successful.

Though the new glass plates were a lot better than the old ones, they were still awkward and prone to breaking. George wanted to create a paper which would be light sensitive and which would be easier still to use.

Anyone who has taken a photograph with a modern day camera will be interested to learn that there was a time when taking photographs was a complicated and time consuming business. The well written and carefully researched text in this book is perfectly complimented by its graphic novel format. Readers will see how George Eastman came to invent his dry glass plates, his photographic paper, the Kodak camera, and the Brownie Camera, compelled always to improve on what was already available.

This book is particularly suitable for young readers who prefer a graphic rich format. Readers will discover that history does not have to be dry or dull. Indeed it can be interesting, and knowing how things were in the past changes how we perceive our world today.