EARLY TECHNIQUES • Although this shot (from the easy on the eye collection) was probably taken in the 1960s in Mexico, and is being used for street portraits rather than walkies, the camera dates from much earlier and shows how the first Walkie pictures were taken. The operator is using paper negatives, which are developed in a tray in the camera body. This is then quickly washed and dried and rephotographed using the stand seen below the lens, which flips up. This second paper negative then comes out as a positive print, which is developed, washed and fixed in the pan seen below the camera, then dried and sold to the customer. All this was done in just a few minutes. The end prints were not especially durable as the rapid processing often didn’t stabilise the image properly. Walkie firms also began using adapted movie cameras to take strips of two or three walkies which were very popular as well as early and large single lens reflex cameras.
LATER TECHNIQUES • To cope with the growing business, walkie firms mostly began to offer prints in around four hours, collected from their kiosk. The cameramen could keep taking pictures, while the negatives, glass or paper, were processed back at the office. Customers were given a ticket (as above) to tell them when the print would be ready to view and where.
POST-WAR WALKIES • After WW2 the use of 35mm compact cameras grew rapidly and many firms moved from postcard prints to smaller walkies. A few firms including Wrates of Skegness began to employ women photographers as well and some offered colour walkie prints by the Sixties. The last dated walkie I have seen is from 1975.