Here's a quick, nostalgic look at the word of photography in 1977, 36 years ago. It's the photography world before Adorama!
Jimmy Carter was President. Son of Sam was terrorizing New York. There was a blackout. A small company in California, Apple Computer, was incorporated. Within a year, a new photo store would open in New York: Adorama.
A lot has changed since Adorama opened for business 35 years ago, in 1978: Film was king, 35mm cameras were everywhere, autofocus hadn't been invented, there was no Internet and there were no cell phones—smart or otherwise. There was only one camera with a microprocessor, and real photographers had bulk rollers and shot Ilford HP-5 and smelled like Fixer and Kodak D-76.
Since then, Adorama has grown into an Internet retail giant that sells everything from digital cameras to pro imaging gear, pro audio, consumer electronics, office supplies, and much more, and supports our customers after the sale with thousands of online tutorials videos and buying guides here at the Adorama Learning Center.
To celebrate Adorama's 35th anniversary, and to get a sense of how far imaging technology has come, I've put together seven cool facts about the state of photography in 1977, the year before Adorama opened. Come with me as we take a ride back in time in the Wayback machine:
1. Best-selling camera: Canon AE-1, the world's first camera with a microprocessor, it sold by the millions in '77 and was the best-selling SLR to date in part thanks to its extensive TV advertising campaign featuring Tennis star John Newcombe and the catchy tagline "so advanced, it's simple." Original price: Around $680 with a 50mm f/1.4 lens—a lot more, in 2013 dollars, than the current Canon SL1! Now you can buy it from the Adorama Used dept. for between $40 and $60. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons
2. Seven famous photographers who were still alive: Ansel Adams, Garry Winogrand (shown at work on the streets of New York), Henri Cartier-Bresson, Roman Vishniac, Dorothea Lange, Bert Stern, and Philippe Halsman. Photo © 1976 by Mason Resnick
3. State of the art of image capture technology: Kodachrome 25. Grain-free images and vivid color was the hallmark of Kodak's unique line of slide film. Kodachrome has been discontinued, and Eastman Kodak, in bankruptcy, is shedding its traditional photography divisions. Paul Simon's song "Kodachrome" lives on. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
4. State of the Art instant image sharing technology: Polaroid SX-70. That's gone too, but the lyric "Shake it like a Polaroid Picture" lives on. Polaroid has reinvented itself for the digital age and the Polaroid Z340 is the digital heir to the SX-70 legacy. Photo Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
5. Susan Sontag's seminal book, On Photography, was published. Photographic philosophers have been debating her talking points ever since.
6. Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography: Stanley Forman of the Boston Herald American for his searingly raw photo of a white youth using the American Flag as a lance against a black civil rights proster during Boston's 1976 race riots, called "The Soiling of Old Glory."
7. The Go-To Pro Camera of 1977: Nikon F-2. The F-2 had replaced the original Nikon F years earlier and was the most technologically advanced camera in the Nikon lineup. Original price? Around $1,280. Compare that to the current flagship Nikon D4, which is available from Adorama for $5,996.95. Expect to pay between $85 and over $200 for a working body at the Adorama Used dept. The Nikon F6, the last and most technologically advanced in the venerable Nikon F 35mm SLR line, is still available as a new camera at Adorama. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
Did I miss anything? Were you alive in 77? Share your memories in the comments below.