Life-like snaps

1930s Kodak film envelope

An envelope is a nice thing in and of itself. An envelope for a special purpose is perhaps even nicer.

This is a film envelope for those send off and get it developed film days of old. Collecting your prints from Boots (or SupaSnaps) was always exciting. Developing your own films even more so. Fiddling with the light-tight cotton bag to load the film. The chemical smells and clicking timers. Clipping the film up to dry..the process was as important as the picture taking.

The lady and the polar bear pictured here are looking at each other, ready for their camera-ready moment. Her Box Brownie is poised for action, as is the bear. They must be sitting in London Zoo, hence the advert for 24 animal picture post cards.

As for the ‘life-like snaps’ bit, we can but hope the eventual photographs were more life-like than this drawing. Don’t get me wrong. I do like a cheap illustration. A simple, lowest common denominator illustration like this one. It reminds me of the small but varied adverts in my brothers’ American DC comics when I was growing up. They fascinated me. Tricks, magic things and send off for weird things. But nearly always badly drawn things.

The woman in a striped dress was a leitmotif of Kodak advertising. She appeared in her stripy dress on many an advert and wallet from the 1910s onwards, conceived by the illustrator and poster designer John Hassall. I always like a fashion leitmotif.

The dress she is wearing here suggests this envelope is from the mid to late 1930s. As hemlines were rising toward the 1940s, yet the slender flapper silhouette of the late 1920s was still in evidence. The polar bear though, wearing his own fur coat, is rather harder to date.





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