Historical Advertisements: Cameras

Think about why you bought your first camera. The color? The clarity? The popularity of the product? Probably for one of these reasons, if not all. Since the late nineteenth century, the camera has come a long way. In advertising for this novel product, three main ideas were explored. The first aspect appealed to the simplicity of the product; how it is easy to use and how anyone can use it. Advertisers also made a point to explain how everyone needed a camera to capture moments. There is also a focus on the accessibility of the product; how it is sized effectively and prices efficiently. Rather than modern camera commercials which prove their superiority through their bold coloring or professional photography abilities, primitive cameras were mainly promoted for their ability to capture life’s best moments.

It can be inferred that the advertisement “The Kodak Camera,” published in Outing Magazine in 1888, was one of the first, if not the first straightforward advertisement for the modern camera. This advertisement is very simple and factual, as it give the exact weight, price, size of camera, and size of photographs. There are three main, bolded points this advertisement concentrates on—“a division of labor,” “a picturesque diary,” and “a beautiful instrument.” The “division of labor” aspect of this advertisement highlights that the camera can take one hundred photos before needing to be developed, has inexpensive film refills, and needs no extra equipment. The “picturesque diary” section accentuates the everlasting quality of the photos the camera takes, and the “beautiful instrument” segment explains the intricacy of the product itself. This advertisement does not seem to have one specific audience it is targeting. For the most part, advertisers were probably trying to catch the attention of families with budgets and memories to be recorded or young people interested in documenting their lives through photography. What seems most strange about this advertisement is the vast amount of words it includes; typical advertisements have maybe twenty or thirty words if that. In a way, I feel like the advertisers may have been assuming that their target audience is lazy. There is so much emphasis on how easy it is to get photos developed, to refill film, and how it is so small and easy to hold. If this is the case, why did the advertisers include so many words on the advertisement? The picture of the camera in a person’s hands shows how you could have this product, and how you could use it to take pictures of your endeavors to Europe. Because clearly if you have a camera, you will automatically go to Europe with it.

The advertisement “Oh, For a Camera” again, focuses on the accessibility and the memory documenting abilities of the camera. The portrait of a family at the top of the advertisement indicates that Eastman Kodak Co. is targeting families with children, eager to capture family moments. This advertisement also goes on about how light and easy the Premo camera is, trying to sell the product on its ubiquitousness. Other than professional uses, the camera has typically been advertised to families. For this reason, this advertisement most likely did an effective job of selling Premo cameras. Advertisers targeting families know that it is important to make clear that the product is simple, light, and cost effective.

In 1913, Kodak released the advertisement “A Boys’ Sport and A Boys’ Camera. Brownie Cameras.” This advertisement is slightly different from Kodak’s previous assignments in that it focuses more on photography as a hobby, and less as a familial keepsake. Instead of targeting a more parental audience, Kodak is targeting children while also targeting adults, making the camera come across as a toy. In comparing this advertisement with the previous two, I think that advertising the Brownie camera is a very effective way to target a new audience. For over thirty years, Kodak publicized the camera as a family product, and probably sold many of them. Most likely, as sales started to go down, Kodak decided to target a new audience—children. What seems ironic about this ad is that even though it is targeting children, and even features a photo of children playing, it still includes the price. Young children typically do not have money and the advertisement would see to catch the eyes of children quicker than the eyes of their parents. Perhaps a more effective way to get parents to buy the Brownie camera for their children would be to discuss why this is such a useful, great, and cost effective toy for your child.

The most effective of these advertisements was probably “Oh, For a Camera,” as it featured the least text and most novel way of broadcasting the camera and its abilities. This ad did a better job of appealing to a specific audience than the other two. An interesting commonality among these ads is the emphasis each put on price. Is it possible that Kodak is assuming money is scarce among their target audience? If so, why did they choose this particular audience? Since advertising the camera, a focus on documenting “special” moments. Kodak’s advertising not only sold cameras, but also sold this idea of treasuring good times.

Works Cited

Kodak. “The Kodak Camera”. Advertisement. Outing Magazine. 1888. Duke U. Libraries Digital Collections. Web. 21 Nov. 2014.

Kodak. “Oh, For a Camera”. Advertisement. Country Life in America. 1909. Duke U. Libraries Digital Collections. Web. 21 Nov. 2014.

Kodak. “A Boy’s Sport and a Boy’s Camera. Brownie Cameras”. Advertisement. Companion 1913. Duke U. Libraries Digital Collections. Web. 21 Nov. 2014.

Be Careful What You Smell

Picture this: a desolate, sandy Middle Eastern desert at dawn. The sound of a helicopter flying above resonates in the theater. This documentary would feature the real terror soldiers experience from a smell oriented perspective. This movie would be based off of Beau Friedlander’s article in Harper’s magazine A Brief History of Scent. It would be an exposé of how scent is in fact a true and prominent contributing factor to post traumatic stress disorder in veterans.

One might ask how a movie can be centered around scent if movies are typically visual and audio oriented? Well, through intense graphics of traumatic army experiences paired with emotional sounds and actors who are able to explicate the effect certain smells have on their experiences, viewers of this film will be able to understand and perhaps vicariously experience the detrimental effect smells have on a soldier’s psyche.

The main focus of this film would be how soldiers experience the everlasting smell of death. The film would use Friedlander’s claims that the scent of death and injury comes in many forms—notably the smell of an exploded body cavity or a decaying body. Scenes of film would be gruesome while showing how eminent scent is in these situations while we may not realize it. Think about it: if you watched a fellow soldier’s body decay, you would of course have a distinct image to picture in your mind for years to come. But then twenty years later you find yourself looking at a dead family member at an open casket funeral and the death scent of your fellow solider rushes from your nostrils to your brain, triggering a post traumatic stress disorder episode. While is may seem confusing to explain on paper, this movie would go through decades in order to show the everlasting effects of smells.

Picture this: a solider is caught in a trap in Iraq—his vehicle explodes leaving behind shrapnel and a stench of diesel has and cordite, a smokeless propellant. All he sees is that he is only one to survive the surprise trap attack and consequently suffers from depression after loosing fellow soldiers. Five years later, the same solider is filling up his Jetta Sport Wagon with diesel has as his toddler aged son watches from his car seat. The veteran gets a whiff of the diesel’s smell, and in the moment has a traumatic episode.

In order to effectively communicate the effects of smell on human psyche, especially in a war setting, the documentary would feature interviews from experts on this topic such as Pamela Dalton of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia and perhaps Friedlander himself. While Friedlander goes into the many other ways scent resonates in our lives, the most exciting aspect of this, I think, is the war zone side of it. Americans love action packed films, and therefore this film would effectively show people how effective smells can be while catering to their preferred genre of film.

To Speak or Not to Speak?

Social networking in this day and age is simply synonymous with hanging out with friends. It is in fact ironic, how you could be chatting with a friend online, but sitting alone in a dark room. Since the launch of apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, cyber bullying—the most common form of bullying among today’s youth—and its consequences have swept across the world. In a way, the new app Crowd Pilot is more ethical. Lauren McCarthy, developer of this app and MIT graduate, had a few specific goals in mind when she developed Crowd Pilot. The most important was to make users of the app question their actions, having them ask themselves whether what they were doing or saying is right or wrong? I find that the most fascinating aspect of Crowd Pilot is that it should make us think twice about what we are saying, the tone we are saying it in, and who could be listening. For example, if you are talking about someone in a negative way and they walk to you mid conversation, out of respect and morals, you are likely to change the subject. But over the phone, you just assume that only person you are talking to, whom you trust, is listening. With the invention of Crowd Pilot, this isn’t necessarily true, since anyone could be listening to your conversations. While in a way, since people should become more aware and careful in regards to who might be listening to their phone conversations, this app is a great way to end cyber bullying.

On the other hand, this app could spiral a negative effect and just increase rate of cyber bullying, if people ignore the fact that others could be listening to their conversations. Apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have passwords, allowing only you and the person you are privately conversing with over messaging to see what you are talking about. Another change that Crowd Pilot could cause might be the effect that tone as on conversations. If you are negatively talking about someone over an instant messaging system or text, they wouldn’t necessarily be able to deduce the tone in which you are talking. However, if they overheard a phone conversation and heard that you were talking with an acerbic tone, they would be further offended. Overall, I feel that if/when Crowd Pilot becomes more popular, if could either have a positive effect on cyber bullying and ethics and general, or a deleterious one.

Can you feel the love?

There are many objects that cause a certain tactile response, greatly changing the way we feel. Barthe’s piece “Soap Powders and Detergents” in Mythologies (1957), describes the feelings associated with soap. Barthe experiences the feelings of foaming, burning, and depth when he touches soap and he explains how they are metaphorical.

Personally, I experience tactile feelings when I come across a micro plush blanket. If you are unfamiliar with the glorious invention known as the micro plush blanket, you most likely know it as that very soft and fuzzy blanket you passed in the bedding aisle at Target or Bed Bath and Beyond. Upon touching a micro plush blanket, I immediately feel a sense of comfort. The soft, loving, exterior of this mere piece of fabric has the ability to make all stressful aspects of my life disintegrate, overpowering me with a feeling of serenity. I also associate my teal micro plush blanket with tranquility. Its tricolor blend of teal, light blue, and white gives it a stream-like appearance, almost making it look like running water. Small brooks and streams are typically associated with tranquility and peacefulness. In addition to comfort and serenity, my micro plush blanket elicits a feeling of safety and security. Imagine you are receiving a tight, affectionate hug from a loved one in a moment of fear, despair, restlessness, or loneliness. All of your negative feelings dissipate as you feel the pressure from your loved one. When I’m upset, tired, uncomfortable, or anxious, as I get into bed and immerse myself in my micro plush blanket, every defeatist feeling I felt before vanishes. The micro plush material gives off an “everything will be okay” vibe, which says, “don’t worry” or “I’ll take care of you.”

The mythical feelings of comfort, serenity, and safety are emotions that all humans in our society aspire to experience at almost any given time. It is very important for us to experience these mythical feelings that are related to tangible objects because they give us a deeper appreciation for them. Before reading Barthe’s piece, I only associated soap with cleanliness, maybe with the fact that it smells nice. Barthe gave me a new appreciation for soap, and I hope that I can give people a new appreciation for the micro plush blanket. At first thought, I would assume one associates the micro plush blanket with warmth or youthfulness. But under the surface, there is metaphorical meaning to every aspect of the micro plush blanket.

Different is Good

As horrible and acerbic as it is, it’s true—kids almost always look down upon kids who are different from them. Think back to elementary school when you thought that boy who couldn’t make eye contact with your teacher was weird, or that girl who was playing pretend with the maple tree was crazy. As much as it kills to me admit it, in elementary school I probably thought that those kids were weird too, and I did not associate with them.

When I was seven, my mom informed me that she would be having another baby. My younger sister, who is now eleven, is the sweetest, most amazing girl in the world that I am so lucky to call my best friend. However, watching her grow up as “that girl who always talked to herself” or “that girl who makes no sense” has been incredibly hard. When Becca was around five, she was diagnosed with some developmental issues, those which have similar effects to Asperger’s or Autism, and a severe speech problem, which makes it very hard for people to understand her. Six years ago, I did a lot of research on children with developmental issues. My first thought was naturally that my lovable, adorable sister would have a great deal of trouble making friends, since elementary school kids don’t know better than to treat those who are different from themselves poorly. After learning more about children who are different I found that there are so many resources so help them reach their full potential, especially if they find their issues at a young age like Becca. After years of intensive speech therapy, Becca’s peers can now mostly understand her when she speaks, and have grown to accept and laud her thrilling imagination. I also learned from research, and from watching my sister grow, that children who often have social setbacks, excel in certain areas academically. My eleven-year-old sister, a fifth grader, has incredible math skills for someone of her age. She also has this unbelievable ability to remember facts about anything. If you were to ask her any random question about the CBS show Survivor the NBC show American Ninja Warriors, or even ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, I can assure you that she’ll know the answer. Being completely honest, the question I initially “googled” regarding this topic was “do kids with social problems ever make friends?” Twelve year old, concerned me was merely worried about my sister and had never looked into this before, but as a continued to read more about the shortcomings children with developmental issues experience, I consequently became much more aware of their strengths.

I would likely say that my research on kids with developmental issues will never be one hundred percent complete. This is probably because there are still so many questions about these issues that professionals have yet to answer. For the most part, however, I felt very satisfied with the research I had done about this when I learned that children like my sister have strengths than most children, just as they also have weaknesses. While her weaknesses might seem detrimental, everyone has weaknesses that can hinder them, but they also have strengths that push them to excel.

What is real literature?

Speaking honestly, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of the Cardboard Box is a rather peculiar piece of literature that I would not expect to read in an academic setting. Throughout my academic life, the literature I have read has typically related to a greater educational topic. For example, in my tenth grade literature class, all the literature we read was related to George Orwell’s 1984 and dystopian society. In my twelfth grade composition class, every piece we read related to African-American identity. The Adventures of the Cardboard Box falls under a mystery category, similar to the Nancy Drew series or Janet Evanovich books. I’m not aware of many academic settings that incorporate mystery, especially Sherlock Holmes into a curriculum. The main reason that I don’t expect mystery to be taught in academia is mostly because it is very straightforward and self-explanatory. As you read the story, the plot is given chronologically and simply. Therefore, it does not often seem like mysterious literature has much deeper meaning.

While mystery seems like an atypical topic to be taught, The Adventures of the Cardboard Box is not limited by its genre. The short story is well written and contains a number of literary devices. Doyle incorporates a large vocabulary into his story, uses dialogue and varied sentence structure. I found it particularly interesting that Doyle began his story with a short paragraph, which essentially gives his intentions of the work. Doyle uses metaphors, descriptive language, as well as strong verbs in conforming to some of the main aspects of classic literature. However, a large amount of classic literature always concludes with some sort of moral or lesson, summarizing the work’s progression and what the reader should take away from it. Typically, mysteries don’t include much after thought or lesson, for that matter. They end with either a solved problem or a lingering dilemma. The Adventures of the Cardboard Box is in accordance with the bulk of mysterious literature, being that it does not have a moral.

Also, typically mystery isn’t the most realistic of genres. While not all academic literature is realistic, receiving severed ears in a package seems a bit far-fetched. One of the most important parts of a literature class is to be able to relate the literature you read to current or historical situations. This is important because it furthers your understanding of the topic and also can personalize it for you. While Doyle’s piece is most certainly literature, it is not a typical story that would be read in a literature class.

A word of advice about cheating

Dear Becca,

I have some crazy news for you. I know you are only in fifth grade, but I think it is important for you to be aware of things like this early on in your life. There is this guy who goes under the name “Ed Dante” that does other people’s homework for them. Obviously this is cheating, but to these kids, it is the only way to get by in school. As your older sister, I think it is necessary for you to know about this black market. Now I know you would never even think about using a service like this, but let me just tell you how it works. Basically, this guy, Dante, gets emails that make no sense from stressed students who need help with their work. Most of the time, these are students who are especially lazy and lack work ethic. Sometimes they are kids who don’t know English well or actually need help. My guess is that you are probably wondering why someone would want to write essays for kids when they could be doing something more productive or useful to them. To be honest, I have no idea why this Dante is wasting his time writing papers beyond his skill level.

I know that when I was your age, cheating was not so prevalent in grade school. But, with all the social changes that have happened generation-ally, I am curious if cheating has become an issue in your school. I would guess that there is not anything quite as extreme and put together as Dante’s cheating empire, but are kids cheating a lot in your elementary school? Or is this happening in your middle school? To me, it seems like younger generations are growing up much faster. The things that kids are doing in sixth grade seem like things I was not doing until ninth or tenth grade. This most likely is related to the technological revolution that is giving kids access to adult like things on the Internet. According to this article about Dante, since kids in college are cheating so much, I would guess that due to the fact that kids these days are maturing extremely fast, that kids in middle school would be cheating too. If this is in fact true, let me give you some advice.

Obviously cheating is wrong—you already knew that. But you also knew that people still cheated even though it is not morally correct. Now that this method of cheating has been revealed to the world in this article, my hope is that teachers and professors will do everything they can to prevent this form of cheating, not to mention every form of cheating possible. If I were you or any of your friends, I would do two things. The first, do not cheat, plagiarize, or do anyone else’s work for them in any form. The second, try to encourage your peers not to cheat. Of course any good friend would encourage their friends to do the right thing, but in this particular situation, I predict that security with cheating is going to get very tight, and I would hate to see you or any of your friends get into trouble over this.

Good luck,

Hannah

Sociability 101

Claude S. Fischer’s chapter of “Touch Someone,” The Telephone Industry Discovers Sociability illustrates the gradual changes in the use of the Bell telephone and how it became “sociable.” One of the most interesting aspects of this article is the lack of freedom in regards to the use of telephone. It appears that most people only used the telephone as “long-distance communication” (Fischer 34). Fischer explains that “sociability themes appeared, but were relatively rare and almost always suggested sending a message such as an invitation or news of a safe arrival rather having a conversation” (Fischer 40). This is where the lack of freedom—and sociability—in usage of the telephone fits, as in the early 1900s the telephone was primarily used for household management and business.

Today, there are many Internet websites that compartmentalize different aspects of sociability. For example, LinkedIn is primarily for professional and work relationships—a similar area of interest as the telephone in the early 1900s. Facebook is mostly for social purposes, but also encompasses awareness of events and some “professional” aspects. Instagram is for photos and videos. Recently Instagram has developed direct messaging, however it isn’t “sociable.” Twitter, unlike Facebook, is mostly for making people aware, rather than being strictly social. Most average adolescents have about two thousand friends on Facebook, but maybe only 400 Twitter and 800 on Instagram.

When I first got an Instagram at the beginning of ninth grade, a friend of mine who had been using Instagram for about a year gave me the low-down. The first rule she gave me was to never post more than once in a day, and if you have a group of photos you want people to see, save it for Facebook. The second rule was to never excessively hashtag, and to save the Twitter. The third was to have a private profile, and to save the random friend requests for Facebook. The final rule was to never let a family member follow you, and to let them just be Facebook friends with you. It sounds silly, but I was actually taught how to be sociable on Instagram.

Just as most people in 2014 wouldn’t post a picture on LinkedIn of them partying, most people in 1910 wouldn’t use the Bell telephone to call up a friend to say “what’s up.” While the technology we use to be sociable has changed over the past century, the use of sociability has not.

How to Stop Dante

In Dante’s The Shadow Scholar, the realm of cheating in higher education is revealed. If I were in fact a college professor being scammed by Dante or someone similar to him, I would probably not be extremely surprised. Students being cheating in grade school and get addicted. Psychologically, children and adolescents, and even adults, to an extent get a rush from lying and scheming. According to Psychology Today’s article Why Adolescents Cheat in School and What to do, cheating gives students “rebellious power,” allowing them to beat the system, which is a goal of many adolescents. Perhaps there are ways to stop cheating, but it is unlikely that there will be a way to manipulate adolescents into not yearning for this “rebellious power.” While I said I would not be all that surprised that cheating occurs in higher education, I would nevertheless be quite disappointed. Primarily, as a professor, I would be insulted that students taking my class would be so uninterested and lazy in regards to a topic that I care enough to teach them about, that they would resort to brushing the work off on someone else. What makes this even more heart wrenching is the fact that college students, the majority of who have insufficient funds, would pay someone like Dante to do their work. I would also be somewhat confused as to why someone as capable and intelligent as Dante would be “wasting” his time writing papers for students, when he himself could be earning an impressive degree.

 

If I teaching an English class and became aware of this nearly catastrophic process Dante endorses, I would most defiantly change some of my policies. For starters I would strongly consider making more in class writing assignments, short hand and thought provoking. This would prevent students from being able to reach out to sources such as Dante to complete their work for them. It would also force students to actually do assigned readings and research if they want to succeed in these surprise prompts. Another aspect of my class that I would change is in the event of a longer paper, I would require students to send in their paper piece by piece as they write it. More specifically, I would have the first paragraph of the essay due at one class, grade this section, and so on; and after each “paragraph” or section of the essay has been completed I would return them to the student and have them put all the pieces together. Granted this will not solve all aspects of cheating, but it does create more work for the student, require more effort and thought, and could deter someone like Dante from wanting the added guidelines.