MP-1974.2.24P | Bathers and bathing houses, Seaside Hotel, Metis Beach, QC, about 1910

Bathers and bathing houses, Seaside Hotel, Metis Beach, QC, about 1910
Anonyme - Anonymous
About 1910, 20th century
Silver salts on film - Gelatin silver process
7 x 12 cm
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  outdoor (47) , Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)
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Keys to History

Unlike professional photographers, whose subject is above all a customer, amateur photographers generally take pictures of friends or family. This special relationship between photographer and subject explains the spontaneity, even the clumsiness of some shots. Amateur photography is free of the conventions of studio portraits, which required subjects to abide by very specific rules regarding pose and attitude. In amateur photos, the subjects are usually unguarded and relaxed, as we see in this vacation shot of bathers at the beach, one of whom isn't even looking towards the camera. Is the picture a failure? Not at all, for the emotional bond specific to amateur snapshots remains intact.

  • What

    The motive behind vacation photos is not so much a desire to document events as emotional ties. These pictures are meant to be viewed with family and friends.

  • Where

    The beach has nothing in common with a photographer's studio. The fact, however, that the people have posed in a group for the photo indicates that the photographic conventions of the studio have not been totally ignored.

  • When

    Thanks to technical progress and the simplicity of the equipment used, amateurs of the early twentieth century could easily practise photography on holidays.

  • Who

    In amateur photographs, subjects are not always posing together as they should be--this is due both to the spontaneity of the shot and the photographer's lack of experience.