The Amateur Photographer Card Game

The Amateur Photographer Card Game

Although lacking twelve of the cards, these are none the less a rare surviving set of game cards produced by the Milton Bradley Company of Springfield, Massachusetts for their 1889 card game:  “The Amateur Photographer”.

Introduced only a year after the Eastman Kodak Company debuted its’ first mass consumer box camera, the No. 1 Kodak in late 1888, the photography craze was reaching a fever pitch as a hobby and thus had a mass market appeal for game enthusiasts. This game was surely marketed to take advantage of the large interest the medium was gaining, for the aforementioned hobbyists but also for those dedicated amateurs, (or, a member of the craft, as the Milton Bradley Company would describe it) whose triumphs and travails are cleverly and comically featured as drawings on the individual playing cards.

The following description of the game appeared as part of the Milton Bradley Company “Catalogue of Games, Sectional Pictures, Toys, Puzzles, Blocks and Novelties” (1889-90) :


This game is played with thirty-six cards, dealt and played from right to left in the usual way, each player drawing a card from his nearest neighbor and laying it down before him to make a part of his own pile. The cards illustrate the triumphs and “hard luck” of an amateur photographer in a way that no member of the craft can fail to appreciate, and all but three of them have plus or minus values. At the opening of the game each player adds the values of the cards constituting his hand and announces the result to the leader, who keeps the score.

Then the struggle begins on the part of each player to better his record, a contest which depends to a considerable extent on the judgment of the players who hold the first and second prize cards. The winner of the game is the player who can show at the close the greatest gain on his record as it stood in the beginning.

The Amateur Photographer is decidedly amusing and he who plays it should keep his “wits about him,” ready for instant use.

Put up in a box with a striking label.    Price, each, 25 cents.  (p. 10)

The Amateur Photographer Card Game

Support Dimensions24 Cards: each being 8.9 x 5.6 cm (3.5 x 2.25")