Family Photos - Where'd The Cars Go?

Even More Puzzling - Why?

After reading a somewhat related article focused on photographs from the 1950's, we suddenly remembered all of those family photos which included cars as a component or backdrop. We recalled being hounded to gather in front of the car for the photo-op of the moment, other times being staged inside the car (convertibles, the car of choice) for a "studio-like" photo.
But these traditions never faded away, they literally disappeared overnight. After doing some research with the intent to establish the timing of this transition, we found a significant amount of evidence. 
IS IT THE CAR OR THE DATE?
The collapse began to show up in the seventies and through the eighties, almost every photo depicted the first arrival of a car belonging to a newly licensed driver or the first new car they purchased. This is still somewhat true, but our search results ended with very few similar photos. Ironically, when we looked for contemporary photos of people and Classic cars, an incredibly basic search yielded thousands of them.

OR WAS IT THE COST OF FILM & DEVELOPMENT vs. DIGITAL
In the late fifties, a fairly common camera cost $25 ($266 in today's money) or more. A roll of Kodachrome color film cost about $3.50 ($54.00 today). You had 24 exposures on each roll and after all of the photos were taken, the film had to be processed to "print" the actual photos. 

Processing was included, but after the Kodachrome monopoly (processing required by Kodak) was dethroned, others were allowed to process the film and the price dropped by almost 50% (still $27 in today's money). An hour's search left us without any accurate photo processing prices, so we are guessing if the cost of film dropped by half without included processing, the cost to develop and print was about the same. Unfortunately the rise of the digital camera has nearly erased the photo film industry. The last roll of Kodachrome was produced in 2002. More irony, Kodak invented the digital camera.
But none of this can explain why there are so many photos of people with their cars from the fifties and sixties and so few examples of photos with contemporary cars and family. Even the transition to a digital world doesn't explain it.  

TIME FOR A REVIVAL?
We're not sure this article will start some landslide level of the resurgence of combining cars and people, but we sure hope it does. Now if you have a "car& family" photo you'd like us to feature, please send it via email along with a note of permission to use on the Garagistry blog.

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