Collection of Vintage Photo Wallets Used to Deliver Prints and Negatives

Collection of Vintage Photo Wallets Used to Deliver Prints and Negatives
Vintage photo wallet
The Kodak Girl on a photo wallet in the 1960s holding a Kodak Instamatic 200.

Photo wallets are often overlooked and are now largely redundant ways of receiving your film photos — but for one collector they are of significance.

Annebella Pollen has hundreds of ephemera vintage photo wallets that bear the names of analog giants such as Kodak, Agfa, and Ilford.

The professor of visual and material culture at Brighton University has collated them into a new book entitled More Than A Snapshot.

The fascinating tome charts the changing guises of photo wallets in the UK that inevitably provoke nostalgia in some.

Vintage photo wallet
An interwar photo wallet from Durbin and McBryde of Croydon (near London).
Vintage photo wallet
The book cover for More Than a Snapshot: A Visual History of Photo Wallets that is based on a photo wallet from Kodak from the 1950s that ‘promotes family bonds.’
Vintage photo wallet
In the 1970s and 1980s, Kodak produced images of beautiful and youthful holidaymakers on photo wallets for amateur photographers to emulate.

It was Kodak that announced the introduction of what it called “print wallets” in 1908 as “neat double envelopes with one side designed to hold photographs and the other negatives.”

They were also referred to as “film wallets” and would display imagery from anonymous illustrators and photographers.

“A wallet might not seem of much consequence, but the 100 examples in this book show a century of attitudes and tastes through the images they enforce — children always smiling, the sun always shining,” Pollen tells The Guardians.

Vintage photo wallet from the 1980s
A mail-order photo processing brand that aimed to undercut high-street prices in the 1980s.
Vintage photo wallet
Vintage photo wallet, circa 1930s.
Vintage photo wallet
A quaint English coastal location is featured on this interwar photo wallet from Agfa.

Pollen says that her favorite photo wallets are the ones that show women as photographers, such as Kodak Girl, a long-running character in ads for the Rochester-based company.

Pollen focuses on how photo wallets often reflect societal changes. She notes, for example, how the Kodak Girl’s hairstyle and hemline changed according to the decade.

More Than a Snapshot: A Visual History of Photo Wallets by Annebella Pollen is published by Four Corners Books. It can be bought here.

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