Share on Facebook

16 Incredible Images Shot with Early Portable Cameras

A gallery of readers’ photographs shows how the portable camera captured our world.

These-Were-Some-of-the-Images-Captured-on-the-Worlds-First-Portable-CamerasCourtesy Dorothy Hutson

General Assembly

Jack and I drove to Washington, D.C., for our honeymoon in April 1951. We happened to arrive the day Gen. Douglas MacArthur was returning home from Asia after being fired by President Truman. The place was crowded and we had nowhere to stay. You can see the throng of people behind me in this picture, which was taken with a Gnome Pixie camera. – Dorothy Hutson, East Providence, RI. 

These-Were-Some-of-the-Images-Captured-on-the-Worlds-First-Portable-CamerasCourtesy Tom Williams

Caught in the Act

My Kodak No. 2 Folding Cartridge Premo, which I got as a gift in the 1940s, came with me when I entered the Navy in 1950. I snapped pictures at boot camp, on board ship and at stops around the world. I took this at Marineland in Florida in 1953. – Tom Williams, Manheim, PA

These-Were-Some-of-the-Images-Captured-on-the-Worlds-First-Portable-CamerasCourtesy Don Cunningham

As Seen Through my Hawkeye

I took this picture of my friends Louis Schneider and Les Lumbattis with their push racer in Maywood, California, in about 1950, using my fixed-focus Brownie. – Don Cunningham, Ceres, CA. Here are more rare photos of what life was like in the 1950s.

These-Were-Some-of-the-Images-Captured-on-the-Worlds-First-Portable-CamerasCourtesy Burt Corsen

A Life in Pictures

The shutterbug bit me on Christmas morning 1937, when I found a Kodak Baby Brownie under the tree with my name on it. For the next several years, that camera recorded many photos. It was handy to carry in duffel bags, backpacks and barracks bags. I have pictures of the 1939-’40 World’s Fair (officially the Golden Gate International Exposition), my adventures as a Boy Scout, my time in the Army Air Corps and, especially, of the blue-eyed, redheaded girl with whom I would spend my life, Glenna McAllister. The only memory I don’t have of the Brownie is what happened to it. The next few slides are a collection of Burt’s pictures. – Burt Corsen, San Jose, CA

These-Were-Some-of-the-Images-Captured-on-the-Worlds-First-Portable-CamerasCourtesy Burt Corsen

On the Ranch

Glenna at Corsen Ranch, Watsonville, CA, 1945.

These-Were-Some-of-the-Images-Captured-on-the-Worlds-First-Portable-CamerasCourtesy Burt Corsen

Happy Couple

Glenna and Burt, 1945. Here are some vintage family picnic photos that will make you want to plan your own.

These-Were-Some-of-the-Images-Captured-on-the-Worlds-First-Portable-CamerasCourtesy Burt Corsen

College Men

Burt, right, with classmates Ken Buoy, left, and Jim Crownover at Eastern Oregon College of Education, 1944

These-Were-Some-of-the-Images-Captured-on-the-Worlds-First-Portable-CamerasCourtesy Burt Corsen

Airplane Games

Burt and his friend Bob Hall, 1944

These-Were-Some-of-the-Images-Captured-on-the-Worlds-First-Portable-CamerasCourtesy Burt Corsen

World’s Fair

Burt’s brother Lee Jr. in front of the Philippine pavilion, World’s Fair, 1940

These-Were-Some-of-the-Images-Captured-on-the-Worlds-First-Portable-CamerasCourtesy Burt Corsen

Boy Scout Camp

Boy Scout camp at Hidden Lake, Yosemite National Park, 1940. Don’t miss these photos that show what winters looked like nearly 100 years ago.

These-Were-Some-of-the-Images-Captured-on-the-Worlds-First-Portable-CamerasCourtesy Burt Corsen

Fort George Wright

At Fort George Wright, Spokane, WA, 1944

These-Were-Some-of-the-Images-Captured-on-the-Worlds-First-Portable-CamerasCourtesy Sue Vorpagel

Just Like the Big Kids

When my parents and I were picking blueberries with their friends in northern Michigan in 1938, someone gave me this Brownie camera so I could take photos. I was very proud! Little did I know, there was no film in it and someone else was snapping my picture. I was 4 years old. – Susie Vorpagel, Petoskey, MI. 

These-Were-Some-of-the-Images-Captured-on-the-Worlds-First-Portable-CamerasCourtesy Ray Mayo

Shadows and Light

My first camera, a loaner from my mom, was a square box held at waist level; you looked into a window to find your subject. Years later I owned a Kodak Brownie 44A with flash attachment. Finally, I bought a Nikon F2 35 mm SLR with several lenses, and installed a darkroom for black-and-white. These two photos were taken in Nashville, Tennessee, in the 1960s. – Raymon Mayo, San Antonio, TX

These-Were-Some-of-the-Images-Captured-on-the-Worlds-First-Portable-Camerascourtesy Carol Gallo

Smile for the Camera

When I graduated from eighth grade at Fourth Avenue Grammar School in Yuma, Arizona, in 1947, my parents took me out for ice cream and then gave me a Brownie Reflex camera. That’s me, left,  in my graduation dress. I tried some trick photography by carefully positioning my two friends Bonnie Woods and Betty Prather, right. – Carol Gallo, Marana, AZ. Check out these vintage kid photos that prove childhood hasn’t changed all that much.

These-Were-Some-of-the-Images-Captured-on-the-Worlds-First-Portable-CamerasCourtesy Rev. David M. Poland

Gridiron Goliaths

We were all-American kids, in sixth grade at Stanley Hall School in Evansville, Indiana, in 1963. From left, Jimmy Kappenman, Frank Johnson, Christopher Clayton and Eric Johnson; with the pigskin, Ernie Rogers and David Wilder. I inherited the small brown box camera from my grandpa. – Rev. David M. Poland, Lansdale, PA 

These-Were-Some-of-the-Images-Captured-on-the-Worlds-First-Portable-CamerasCourtesy Cathy Streeter

Focused on the Family

I got a Polaroid Swinger in 1967 when I was 12 and took all the family photos. From left, is my brother Denny, 3, in his cowboy hat; Denny and I in 1972 in front of my first car; and my family at a campsite in Utah. – Cathy Streeter, Sheridan, WY. Much like these vintage snapshots, these arrestingly beautiful photos stand the test of time.

Originally Published in Reminisce Extra

Newsletter Unit

CMU Unit

Subscribe & SAVE Save Up To 84%!