II-200819.0 | Two children racing on board ship, copy for Southam Limited in 1913

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Two children racing on board ship, copy for Southam Limited in 1913
Anonyme - Anonymous
1913, 20th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  boat (111) , child (64) , copy for Southam Limited (1) , deck (8) , detail (50) , figure (1849) , group (644) , Occupation (1110) , Photograph (77678) , race (5) , running (2) , spectator (7) , sport (475) , sport (107) , steamer (37) , transportation (338)
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Keys to History

Capturing motion is one of the main attractions of amateur photography. Although what is known as instant photography was discovered in the 1870s, it did not become truly popular until the 1890s, when Kodak began selling cameras for the general public. A wide variety of subjects associated with motion and speed could then be photographed by amateurs: diving, jumping, automobile racing, falls, accidents, etc. The most diverse stunts likely to give an impression of speed spontaneously attracted the attention of Sunday photographers. In this picture, the photographer managed to capture the key instant of a hotly disputed race.

  • What

    Speed fascinated amateur photographers, who tried to distil its essence. The slightly blurred silhouettes of the young racers pictured here give some indication of their speed.

  • Where

    Car races and competitive sports events provided photographers with an intriguing technical challenge: seizing the moment while at the same time giving the impression of speed.

  • When

    The most crucial moment of a footrace is obviously when the athletes cross the finish line. The photo finish was used for the first time in Stockholm, in 1912, but it was not until the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City that the system became official.

  • Who

    Thanks to the photo finish, many athletes who were misjudged mounted the podium to receive awards that would otherwise have been denied them.