90 years of pho­tog­ra­phy

Hamilton News - - Front Page - Tom Row­land

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.

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