I just sent an email to the History channel, complaining about the first episode in “The Cars That Made America.” It wasn’t about the cars, it was about the cameras.
In one scene in particular, the actor playing Henry Ford is shown talking with members of the press, including several photographers. This was supposed to be somewhere around 1914-1918. Here’s a screencap of the scene:
The guy on the far right has a camera that is somewhat like a camera of that era, but I would suggest it’s actually several decades younger, a Speed Graphic circa 1950s, perhaps.
As for the other two photographers you can see, those sure look like 1950s or 1960s Kodak snapshot cameras, but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and peg them in the ’30s. But even that’s iffy, because the cameras are sporting flashbulb reflectors. Flashbulbs didn’t make an appearance until the early ’30s, and the bulbs were big, not the small consumer-type flashbulbs you see used here, from the 1950s-60s. So I’m sticking with late ’50s/early ’60s cameras and flashes.
So, wrong. Just plain wrong.
Here’s what photographers of the era would have been using, taken near the White House in 1918:
If they were needing extra light, they used flash powder.
It ticks me off when art directors get such details wrong. It’s like watching TV and movie scenes of current times, and the news photographers are using one camera, with built-in flash. Okay, they’re making the movie on the cheap, but still, it’s wrong, and that brings the entire production into question.