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Kodak Gallery

Take a journey through the history of photography. Step into a 19th century portrait studio, see hundreds of incredible objects from our collection, and watch the world’s first moving colour film. 

From the very first photographs to digital snaps, discover the history of photography in the Kodak Gallery.

The invention of photography

See how experiments with chemistry and light created the first permanent images. Examine the work of pioneers like Niépce, Talbot and Daguerre, and view some of our most important objects, from the ancient camera obscura to photographic portraits of the 1840s.

Daylight studio

Explore the local story of Bradford’s greatest photographic studio: the Belle Vue. See how portraits were created with the help of natural light and discover how this old-fashioned practice kept the studio in business late into the 20th century.

Victorian drawing room

History comes alive in our replica of a Victorian drawing room, exactly as it would have been in 1865—complete with a display of the popular carte de visite portraits of the era.

The birth of popular photography

With the introduction of the Kodak camera in 1888 and the Brownie in 1900, photography went from professional occupation to popular pastime. See the cameras and learn about the important work of enthusiastic amateurs.

The post-war years

The second half of the 20th century saw a boom in photography. From the Instamatic, Polaroid and 35mm SLR to the rise of colour photography in the 1960s, take a look at popular post-war cameras—right through to the digital revolution.

The Kodak Gallery is home to one of our most amazing discoveries: the earliest moving colour film. Using the method patented by Edward Turner and Frederick Marshall Lee in 1899, we were able to reveal full-colour moving images on test films from 1901–03, making them viewable for the first time in 110 years.

Read more about the Lee and Turner restoration on our blog

Many of the items on display in this gallery are taken from our collection of 35,000 objects and images donated by Kodak Ltd.

The Lee and Turner project was funded by the Screen Heritage UK Programme and supported by Brian Pritchard, David Cleveland, Roger Mortimer, Madeline Weller and Prime Focus. Special thanks to Yorkshire Film Archive and Screen Yorkshire.

The photographs used in the Daylight Studio are from the Belle Vue photographic collection. They are housed at and looked after by Bradford Industrial Museum, part of Bradford Museums & Galleries.

Learning in the Kodak Gallery

The Kodak Gallery tells the story of photography, from the earliest cameras to the digital photographs of today. It illustrates changes in society since the Victorian era, as well as the development of photographic technology.

The gallery is a good introduction to Victorian life: there are lots of Victorian cameras and photographs, as well as a large selection of cameras from the 20th century.

Students can learn about the birth of photography and the development of the camera; understand the problems of early portrait photography and experience being a model in the Daylight Studio; explore how photography grew from a pastime of the rich to being available to all; and appreciate the growing impact of the camera on our lives.