Amateur photography got its mass appeal start more than 150 years ago in New York. A former banker named George Eastman invented the Kodak #1 camera. Back in the 1880s, this camera was little more than a box that came preloaded with with a 100-exposure roll of film. After the individual finished the roll, the entire camera was shipped back to the factory in Rochester, where it was reloaded and shipped back while the film was being developed. 
Kodak #1 Camera
Can you imagine that in today’s desire for instant gratification?
We actually aren’t too far from that in terms of time. In the 1990s when I was in college studying photography, there was no digital camera available to the general public . I loaded my camera with film, sent it out to a lab for processing, and then went into the dark room to print and manipulate my own prints.
Nowadays, the rise in the popularity of mobile phones as cameras has all but obliterated the film industry. But coming with this rise is a new-found love of photography across the board. Also contributing to this level of admiration are social networking sites like Instagram and Facebook—as evidenced by Facebook now being the largest library of online photographs. 
Museums are standing up and taking notice of this movement. In fact, the nearby San Francisco Museum of Modern Art announced last week that it is building the largest photography exhibit space in the country.
The John and Lisa Pritzker Center for Photography will have more than 15,500 sq. ft of exhibition space dedicated to the medium. That, in addition to our wonderful Pier 24, SF will become quite the photo mecca
Since my lifelong passion has been all forms of photography, I am quite enjoying this revitalization. It will be interesting to see how photography evolves in the next couple decades.