Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

George Eastman

George Eastman

Susan Bivin Aller
For ages 7 to 9
Lerner Publishing Group, 2004   ISBN: 978-0822502005

In the late 1800's photography was so complicated that only professionals could manage to use the finicky equipment, and it took a lot of experience and patience to get the photographic prints to come out right. George Eastman discovered the joys of taking photographs when he was in his early twenties. He was a banker, but he was looking for new opportunities and thought that he might invest in some land in South America. He thought it would be a good idea to take photographs of the land he was going to buy.

This was how George got the photography bug. He paid a professional photographer to teach him how to use the bulky and heavy camera, and he learned how to develop prints using the glass plates that the cameras used. The whole process was complicated and often the results were far from satisfactory. George decided that he would try to invent a more user-friendly system that hobbyists would be able to use.

His first break though was to make a new kind of glass plate available; one that was not so temperamental and messy. Then he worked to find a way to do away with the fragile glass plates altogether, and that was how photographic film came to be invented. George was still not pleased with the large and heavy cameras there were available at that time. A new kind of camera was needed, and thus the first truly portable camera came into being. It was called the Kodak camera and it took photography to a whole new level.

This interesting and well written title will show young readers what a smattering of imagination, plenty of work, and having a dream can do for a young person. Though George was not an expert in the field of photography, he did what he had to do to become one.

With plenty of period photographs and illustrations this work of non-fiction from the History Maker Bios series provides readers with an excellent introduction to the life and achievements of George Eastman.