This is a Kodacolor print

The family photographs have come to me now that Mom’s gone. I found this Christmas, 1952, portrait of my grandfather among them. I did some restoration work in Photoshop on it — the print itself has turned brown.

My grandfather is said to have been a fashionable man in his day. I wonder what kind of camera made this photograph? What other than a TLR would have made a square photograph in 1952?

What’s fascinating to me as a film photographer is what’s on the back of this print.

Kodak made its original Kodacolor film from 1942 to 1963. Until 1955, when you bought a roll of Kodacolor, it came with processing and printing from Kodak. Nobody but Kodak could develop Kodacolor film! The United States sued on antitrust grounds, given that Kodak claimed more than 90 percent of the color photofinishing market. Kodak was found to be in violation of the Sherman Act, and the government forced Kodak to sell its Kodacolor processing chemicals to other photofinishers.

I wonder what this print looked like when it was fresh!

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19 responses to “This is a Kodacolor print”

  1. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    Many of the 50’s era Kodacolor prints in my family had print edges that had turned bright yellow. Did you correct that, or was it as white as it looks here?

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Not on this or any of the others among Mom’s prints. This one was brown like the scan of the back above.

  2. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    BTW, my Mom was the photo aficionado in my family, and our early Kodacolor prints, all square, and relatively sharp, were made with a Brownie Reflex, which I used to have somewhere, but never used. She was such a fan, she had some friction fit filters for it, like a Kodak split yellow filter to darken skies.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’ve owned two Brownie Reflexes and never used either. They just weren’t compelling. But given your mom’s experience, perhaps I missed something.

      1. AndyUmbo Avatar

        She migrated on to a decent Instamatic cartridge camera, one with spring wound film advance, but she always said she hated looking through the little eyepiece hole of most cameras, and really hit it off with the big screen of a TLR style camera, which the Brownie Reflex had. She could really see what she was doing to frame the photo.

  3. Marc Beebe Avatar

    There were a large number of cameras that made square images on various film sizes back then. I can’t help but notice the obvious family resemblance between you and your grandpa.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Yep, some of his features are in me. I’m a lot taller than he was though!

    2. fishyfisharcade Avatar

      A whole bunch of folding cameras could be the model used. I think the angle of view points either to a TLR held at waist height, or perhaps the photographer used something else and was sat down. :)

  4. sonny rosenberg Avatar

    Interesting! And the family resemblance is undeniable, am I wrong to think that this could pass as a photo of you?

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Perhaps – I didn’t know him at this point as it was 15 years before I was born. Good portraits of him from this era don’t exist.

  5. Neil Iwan Avatar
    Neil Iwan


    Definite resemblance!!

    I don’t know if this is relevant to you, but the date of the photo is written as 1952 and the year the paper was made is 1953.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The photograph was clearly made at Christmas in 1952 given the Christmas decorations around the fireplace. I’m confident that my grandparents made other photographs in the months that followed and finally sent it off for processing in whatever month in 1953.

  6. Kodachromeguy Avatar

    The date on the back of the print is a valuable piece of information. My dad’s Kodachrome slides from 1950, 1951, 1952, and 1953 did not have a processing date on the slide mount. I wonder when they added that to their slide-processing? My 1960s and later slides did have a date in the upper left edge.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I have all of my mother-in-law’s color slides from the late 40s through the early 60s. Most of them are Kodachromes, processed by Kodak. I’d have to go look to find out, but I think there are dates on some and not others.

  7. brandib1977 Avatar

    Great picture! I saw a lot of him in you.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I only ever knew him in his 50s and 60s and early 70s, by which time age has changed him. Seeing some of these photographs from days gone by gives me a different look at what he looked like then. What’s interesting is that I also recently found a photograph of my dad’s mom, which is the other side of the family. I see myself in her as well. It’s quite remarkable. So maybe I am a good hodgepodge of both sides of the family.

      1. brandib1977 Avatar

        Isn’t it funny how seeing images of people in different stages of life changes your impression of them?

        It sounds like you are a good combination of both sides. People who see me with my mother say I look like her and those who know my dad say I look like him. It happens!

  8. J P Avatar

    I love looking at old photos like this, even when I don’t know who the people are. Your grandfather was a dapper fellow and it is evident that everyone in the room was having a great time.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      My grandparents knew how to throw a party!

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