Jamie Allen's Posts

Jamie M. Allen is an Assistant Curator in the Department of Photographs at George Eastman House. She is a graduate of The University of Arizona, Tucson (2000) and holds a MA in Photographic Preservation and Collections Management from Ryerson University (2006).

Between The States: Photographs of the American Civil War

Posted by on Apr 12 2011 | Exhibitions, History, Other, Photography

On April 12, 1861, at 4:30 am, Confederate forces attacked the US military installation at Fort Sumter in South Carolina. At the time, Fort Sumter was under construction and the Union troops inside were short of provisions. While this date is used as the beginning of the war, the events had already been set in motion by the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States in November 1860 and by the secession of seven states from the United States to the Confederate States of America.

 

Unidentified Photographer
FORT SUMTER SHOWING THE EFFECTS OF THE BOMBARDMENT BY THE ARTILLERY OF THE ARMY
& NAVY OF THE UNITED STATES WHILE OCCUPIED BY THE REBELS FROM APRIL 1861 TO FEBRUARY 1865, ca. 1865, Albumen print
 

Unidentified Photographer

FORT SUMTER SHOWING THE EFFECTS OF THE BOMBARDMENT BY THE ARTILLERY OF THE ARMY & NAVY OF THE UNITED STATES WHILE OCCUPIED BY THE REBELS FROM APRIL 1861 TO FEBRUARY 1865, ca. 1865,  Albumen print


The tale of the American Civil War has been told thousands of times. Historians,
both academic and amateur, have delved into the past to understand just how
the Confederate States of America decided to secede from the Union to form an
independent country, and how, in response, the Union eventually quashed their
attempts. Our current exhibition considers photography and its relationship to the War Between the States.
The George Eastman House collection holds over 1,100 photographs related to
the civil war, a modest number in relation to national standards. The strengths of this collection are some unique items, including a series of photographs found in a United States Postal Service dead letter office, several portraits of Confederate officers aboard the C.S.S. Alabama, and an album assembled to commemorate the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. In addition, items such as Alexander Gardner’s Photographic Sketch Book of the War provide extensive holdings of war-related scenes and landscapes.
It is estimated that over 620,000 soldiers died during the American Civil War
along with countless civilians. This remains the highest number of deaths for
American soldiers in any war. Photography played an important role in bringing this sobering reality to the public as, for the first time in history, photographers
showed the dead that remained on battlefields, and publishers had the ability to
reproduce these images in quantity. In addition, images showing the destruction
of cities, new American heroes, and arsenals of troops filled the pages of popular
journals such as Harper’s Weekly and Humphrey’s Journal.
Photography was still in the early stages of its invention. Therefore, many photographers were new to their craft and as the war raged on, photographic supplies were sometimes expensive and hard to come by. In addition, the existing processes could not capture the chaos of battle, with the cannons flaring and men fighting in combat.
Now at the sesquicentennial of these events, the stillness of what remains in these photographed scenes resonates in American minds. Destruction, struggle, and loneliness are evoked by the haunting, empty scenes, but we may also perceive an impression of valor in a young face, a sense of patriotism for a chosen side, a feeling of dignity in the face of death.

 

 

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Upcoming Exhibitions: Portrait

Posted by on Jan 04 2010 | Other

Portrait will explore the photographic medium through the most basic and seminal of images: the portrait. Roughly structured by decade, from daguerreotype to digital, the photographs will allow the viewer to explore how the medium has changed over time and will showcase how the representation of personality, mood and likeness have changed or remained the same throughout the medium’s short history. This modest exhibition will provide both a technological timeline and a glimpse of outstanding examples from our collection. The exhibition opens in the South Gallery on February 27, 2010.

200902120002.0001

Chad Hunt (American, b. 1972), PFC KRISTEN SANDERS, 20, MIDLAND, MI, MEDIC, THE KORENGAL OUTPOST, AFGHANISTAN 2006, Digital inkjet print, George Eastman House Collection, © Chad Hunt.

198156260063.0001

Unidentified Photographer, VERDI, ca. 1875, Albumen print, Carte de Visite, George Eastman House Collection.

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Fire Extinguisher Training!

Posted by on Jul 14 2009 | Behind The Scenes

How many of us have a Fire Extinguisher under our kitchen sink, in the trunk of our car, or walk by one each day at work? How many of us have actually had the opportunity to pull the pin and fire off the contents?

Archivist Joe Struble practices his new Fire Fighting skills.

Archivist Joe Struble practices his new Fire Fighting skills.

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On Tracks…

Posted by on Feb 25 2009 | Other, Photography

When we decided to develop the exhibition TRACKS: The Railroad in Photographs from the George Eastman House Collection, we knew we wanted to present a variety of images of trains from the long history of transportation. What we found is that it coincided with photography in a wonderful way! Both technologies came about at the same moment in history and both changed how the world would be viewed. Trains made the world seem smaller; suddenly places that seemed impossible to reach could be traveled to in days. In a similar fashion photography made the world bigger; things that were previously unseen by the human eye became accessible, time was stopped, and every detail of life could be captured.

It is often sad when an exhibition closes, and the photographs go back to the vault to be stored until they are called upon again. In the case of TRACKS, however, the exhibition will live on even when it is no longer on the walls of George Eastman House. As a traveling exhibition, TRACKS will be shipped to other institutions and be shared with a bigger audience than Rochester, New York can supply. It will also be presented at a conference this April! I will have the pleasure to share the images and ideas behind the selection with the participants of CONVERSATIONS ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY. This conference is produced by the Center for Railroad Photography & Art in Madison, Wisconsin and will be held on the campus of Lake Forest College in Illinois. Please visit the conference website for more information: http://www.railphoto-art.org/conference/

 

Bisson Fréres (French Active 1841-1864).
Bisson Fréres (French Active 1841-1864).
The locomotive, “La Vaux” ca. 1857-1863.
Albumen print.
1981:1009:0003  

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