90 years of photography
Hamilton photography shop Snapshot celebrated 90 years of business in May with the opening of a photography museum.
The shop in Victoria Street is a specialist camera store that has supplied photographers in the Waikato since 1928.
The business has been owned and operated by the same family since 1946.
In 1946, Maurice Boswell bought the 18-year-old photographic business of Bell’s Photography in Hamilton and changed the name to Snapshot. The business operated from Victoria St opposite Wesley Chambers, now Le Grand Hotel, until moving in 1958 when Maurice purchased the neighbouring building.
In 1952 he married Yvonne Blinkhorne and their son Graham Boswell helped in the business as a student then made it his full-time career after leaving school.
Graham and his wife Jill bought the business in 1992, when Maurice retired due to ill health.
The photography museum, which houses cameras from the 19th century to the 21st century has become a popular attraction with young photographers interested in learning about the history of the camera.
“It shows the different changes throughout the ages of cameras and the brands that are no longer with us,” Mr Boswell said.
“People just come in and they are mesmerised by it.”
“The new generation is keen on buying retro cameras and trying the old ones. They are just excited for old-school photography, sort of like how music and records are coming back into fashion.”
Mr Boswell’s favourite possession in the museum is a German Leica camera.
“They have fascinated me, they go back to the late 1940s.”
“They were used in the World Wars and were always seen around reporters’ necks recording all of the action.
“They still make them today.”
In the museum sits a classic Kodak 127 Brownie which was released in 1952, and Mr Boswell’s first camera, which was a present from his Mum and Dad.
It was this camera that started his journey with photography and collecting cameras as a hobby.
He volunteered his time at the store as a teenager.
Mr Boswell admits that when he and Yvonne bought the business they did not know that a digital age was a fast approaching and how much it would change the photography scene.
Despite the new technology, the store has continued to perform well and he believe it is down to its uniqueness.
“There is not many photoshops that have the knowledge of the old and the new. Of course every day we are having to draw on the knowledge of the past and future.”
“We have put the flag in the ground and point out that we understand photography and we have been in it for this long and don’t plan on leaving.”
Graham and Jill Boswell with a square camera bellows manufactured by Watson and Sons in the late 1800s.
A Kodak 127 Brownie and the first camera that Graham Boswell owned.