The Null Device

Beware the "camera fiend"

It appears that the recent panic about cameraphones happened 116 years earlier, when Kodak released the first portable camera:
The appearance of Eastman's cameras was so sudden and so pervasive that the reaction in some quarters was fear. A figure called the "camera fiend" began to appear at beach resorts, prowling the premises until he could catch female bathers unawares. One resort felt the trend so heavily that it posted a notice: "PEOPLE ARE FORBIDDEN TO USE THEIR KODAKS ON THE BEACH." Other locations were no safer. For a time, Kodak cameras were banned from the Washington Monument. The "Hartford Courant" sounded the alarm as well, declaring that "the sedate citizen can't indulge in any hilariousness without the risk of being caught in the act and having his photograph passed around among his Sunday School children."

Given the recent prohibitions on photography at railway stations from the New York Subway to the City Loop in Melbourne (undoubtedly to make people feel that something's being done to fight terrorism or somesuch), it appears that the "camera fiend" never really left the public demonology.

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