Brownie HAWKEYE CAMERAS and vernacular photography

For many of us the Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Camera is the first camera we ever used. The Hawkeye was first introduced by Kodak in September 1950 with an original list price of $6.95. I always remember this camera being around the house. It was a mysterious plastic box that I loved to hold and look through, pretending to push the shutter, capturing visual moments.

My folks first allowed me to use the Brownie on an outing to Ft. DeRussy at Waikiki. We were on a picnic with my best friend and her family. Somewhere I think I still have the blurred pictures I took that day, but I can't find them. I also have a photo of myself using the camera at my grandmother's house in Pennsylvania the first summer after we'd moved back to the mainland. Again, I know it's around somewhere and had it just a few months ago. I remember putting it away for safe keeping. Yeah, well, now I don't know where I put it. I do however have this photo of a complete stranger with her Brownie Hawkeye taken in 1955. That's all it says on the back, 1955.

I also have the small pamphlet (shown below) that came with the camera. When you consider how easy point-and-shoot cameras are to use these days, just the mere fact that you had to load film into one of these little boxes would confuse kids today.

To see more interesting facts and memories people have of their Brownie cameras go to the Kodak site and then click on "View Story." Well worth the little bit of time it takes to view the history of the different Brownie cameras.

How many vernacular photographs in your collection were taken with one of these?

Brownie Hawkeye 1_tatteredandlost
Brownie Hawkeye 2_tatteredandlost
Brownie Hawkeye 3_tatteredandlost
Brownie Hawkeye 4_tatteredandlost
Brownie Hawkeye 5_tatteredandlost
Brownie Hawkeye 6_tatteredandlost
Click on any of the images to see them larger.


  1. I have a pix of me about these kids' age standing behind my grandfather holding a brownie. It was also my first camera, still have shots I took with it.

  2. I have a few shots taken with the Hawkeye on a trip in probably '62. So many of my family photos were ruined or destroyed when a water heater burst. I have bags of photos rolled up like over fried potato chips. Then there were the stacks of photos that were stuck together with the emulsion oozing onto my hand. Those I just had to throw away. I'll never know what I lost. Of course there are no negs for any of them. Why didn't people save the negs?

  3. I came across some negatives from '81 and had them printed and they came out great, so maybe those older ones would too.

  4. My problem is I don't have the negs anymore. Virtually none exist. I guess they got lost in all of our moves back and forth across country. Fortunately I do have all the slides my dad took, but they are often of places, not people.

  5. Good post. I have hundreds of the prints, I'm sure.

    I also bought the camera recently complete with flash, original box and the instruction book you have pictured. It was a fine old camera and changed overnight how we recorded our historys.

  6. I've got the flash attachment too. I keep the camera up on my book shelf. I love the design of it, the feel of it.

    Do you know of any sites where information is given specifically saying how to recognize prints by what camera might have been used. Size of prints, etc. This Brownie always produced square shots. But I'm wondering what size shots the Brownie Starflash took.