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Business / Philosophy of Photography Taking pics is one thing, but understanding why we take them, what they mean, what they are best used for, how they effect our reality -- all of these and more are important issues of the Philosophy of Photography. One of the best authors on the subject is Susan Sontag in her book "On Photography."

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original Shutterbug Ads magazine also product of Apollo program
Old 07-18-2019   #1
Bob Michaels
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original Shutterbug Ads magazine also product of Apollo program

We should acknowledge that the original Shutterbug Ads magazine was one of the many things that came from the Apollo program at KSC. It originated as the classified section of the KSC camera club newsletter. In 1974, after the US had won the great space race to the moon, the Apollo program was ended as the costs were huge. The resulting massive layoffs at KSC left the Space Coast of Florida with huge numbers of aerospace engineers and highly skilled technical people with no potential for future employment anywhere in their field. Many became entrepreneurs.

Glenn Patch, a then unemployed computer hardware tech, in Titusville FL began self publishing the old classified section of the club newsletter as he had little else to do. It became a business and adopted the name "Shutterbug Ads". That business eventually became profitable and sustained Glenn and his wife Patty who helped him.

Several years later, Glenn thought the emergence of the personal computer market would cause techies to begin selling their TRS-80s, Commodore 64s, and original Apples so they could upgrade just like cameras. He started "Computer Shopper" which proved to be a home run that he later sold for a lot of money.

Glenn was know for his scrupulous ethics as he never let anyone see an issue of Shutterbug before it arrived at subscribers homes via mail so there could be no cherry-picking of items for sale. I worked with Glenn some back then and he would not let us see a copy until it had been in the mail for two days.

Glenn was also the photographer for some of the astronaut's unofficial, very personal, and private parties as he always delivered the negatives along with prints and never said anything about what went on at those parties.

So while we acknowledge the many products that came from the space program, we should not forget that the original means of buying and selling cameras remotely was one of them.
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Old 07-18-2019   #2
CameraQuest
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wow

Shutterbug ads DEFINED USA camera sales from the 1970's to late 90s -
until internet camera sales became an unexpected hit
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Old 07-18-2019   #3
Dave Jenkins
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Thanks for that background, Bob. I read Shutterbug Ads faithfully almost from the beginning, but never knew any of this.
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Old 07-18-2019   #4
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Also a faithful reader of Shutterbug Ads. My father was a subscriber for as long as I remember. Thanks for the background story.
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Old 07-18-2019   #5
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Thanks! An Interesting bit of photo history.
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Old 07-18-2019   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CameraQuest View Post
Shutterbug ads DEFINED USA camera sales from the 1970's to late 90s - until internet camera sales became an unexpected hit

Absolutely! I bought cameras and lenses from many dealers in Shutterbug in that time frame. Always great people to deal with. You could call them on the phone and they would go get the item you were interested in and answer any questions about it while they had it in their hand. You could hear things like "that lens has a Tiffen UV filter on it, so a better deal". Total ethical treatment as exists only today from those like you, B&H, or Adorama. I learned the alternative was a bunch of whores that had multiple page ads in Pop Photo or Modern Photo who would accept your credit card for new product and someday ship your item is they ever got it in stock. So I would pay close to new prices from advertisers in Shutterbug to buy quality used equipment simply because they were honest and reliable.
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Thank you for the interesting history lesson Bob!
Old 07-18-2019   #7
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Thank you for the interesting history lesson Bob!

Dear Bob,

I always enjoy knowing the backstory. I was a long time Shutterbug subscriber, but I mostly just lusted after stuff because I didn't have the means to buy.

Regards,

Tim Murphy

Harrisburg, PA :-)
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Old 07-18-2019   #8
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Wow, what a keen history lesson. I read Shutterbug more for the articles. Didn’t Roger Hicks write for them. I really liked his explanation of photographic techniques and applications. Very clear with good sample photos to show what he was explaining.
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Old 07-18-2019   #9
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I once was in a college debate saying that the money on the space program was not well spent

- ie it could have been better spent on planet earth needs

I am still not sure what the truth of that argument was,

however it makes me laugh out loud that so many camera dealers profitted unexpectedly from the US Space program via Shutterbut Ads!

Bless you Glenn Patch!
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Old 07-18-2019   #10
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"Shutterbug ads DEFINED USA camera sales from the 1970's to late 90s"
They were the eBay and Amazon of their time. In the late 70's I would often drive down to NYC, 4 hours from NE CT to be the first to get a lens from one of the ads. A different time, people.
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