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Smile! Capturing Our Lives with Cameras


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Since the advent of the camera, people have embraced this technology to capture much of what we do and who we are on tin and glass plates, still and moving film, and now in a digital format.  Featuring images and photographic equipment from the late 1800s to today, the feature exhibit Smile! Capturing Our Lives with Cameras – on display from October 13, 2007 to January 6, 2008 – delves into how and what we record through this evolving technology.

Each year since the development of the first rudimentary Kodak camera invented by George Eastman, the technology has changed.  Film quality, processing techniques, lens clarity and adaptability and camera body design evolved so the amateur photographer could capture high quality pictures to save in their family albums.  Today, it is rare to see anyone using a film type camera.  Digital technology has placed film on a back burner.  Albums are replaced by computer screens.  Cameras are tiny and are even fitted into the smallest cellular phones.  Eastman would have trouble recognizing what we use today as a camera!

Historic photo equipment from the Galt’s artifact collection enhanced by loans from local private collections will show the technological changes from the late 1800s to the late 1900s.  Historic photos from the Galt and Glenbow Archives along with images provided by people from the communities in and around Lethbridge will be exhibited.  As an integral part of this exhibit, the latest digital video and still photo equipment has been loaned courtesy of London Drugs.

A walk-in camera obscura – an optical device originally used in drawing which helped lead to the invention of photography – has been constructed, and a photo studio style backdrop will be placed at a computer station where visitors can shoot their own photo to take away as a memento.