Kodak Girls and a Photographic Revolution (w/ Angel O’Brien)

On this episode, we talk to Angel O’brien, @5x7angel on IG, about her strange and beautiful self-portrait and collage work. We’ll also be taking a long look at how Kodak advertised to women over a century ago – did they start a revolution or were they just along for the ride? Want a bit of advice? Well, Vania’s on call for that; we’ve got the answering machine, zine reviews, some recommendations, and a whole slew of fun!


Angel O’Brien: 5×7 Angel

When we first saw Angel O’Brien’s work, we really didn’t know what to do with it. What were we looking at? It’s a collage, but built around her self-portraits. And those self-portraits aren’t really part of a logical reality. They’re shifted and distorted, discolored and bent – but it all seems to be coming from a very centered place.

Here is some of her work:

IG: @5x7angel

IG @5x7angel_thebuiltworld

IG: @angelobrien.poet

web: https://www.5x7angel.com/

Kodak Girls

For women, this began to change in the 1870s. The suffragette movement had won for women the sense that men were more in the way than essential (though it had still not procured their right to vote). With the expansion of cities, the job market grew. And with more jobs than men to fill those jobs, women filled the positions. There were still gender norms, of course, but they were changing.

What women could and couldn’t do in society was shifting. Women were becoming independent. The new generation, especially those born following the Civil War in the 1860s, felt little need for the Victorian ways of their parents and grandparents.

They came of age and into their 20s just as photography was about to make a dramatic shift from the stunningly complex to simple. And it was gender norms that would actually carve out a large share of this new photography for women.

Here’s a sampling of Kodak’s Kodak Girl ads:

Zine Reviews

My Eye by David Fry – @frymanbandgb

Memento Mori – Nunhead Cemetery by George GriffinEtsy


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Music by Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers

Vania: IGFlickrZines
Eric: IGFlickrZinesECN-2 Kits
Tiffen: IG

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