Jessica Johnston's Posts

Jessica Johnston is an Assistant Curator in the Department of Photographs at George Eastman House. She manages numerous exhibitions and projects at the museum including our recent participation on the Flickr Commons.

Delphiniums in the Garden (and the Archive!)

Posted by on Jul 02 2009 | House & Gardens

I gasped this morning when I saw the vibrant blue of these awesome Delphiniums! I promised myself that if Barbara (museum photographer + garden lover) photographed them I would share them on the blog. When I got to my office I looked on her Flickr page and sure enough: Delphiniums.

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After I settled into work I was reminded of OTHER Delphiniums at George Eastman House. Edward Steichen, famous for curating the landmark exhibition Family of Man, as well as for making his own  photography, was a  passionate  Delphinium enthusiast. How nice that we have such a lovely display of Delphiniums blooming in the garden, and their ancestors (maybe), immortalized by Edward Steichen, living in boxes in the photo archive. Steichen won many prizes for his cross-breeding of Delphiniums and at one time planted 5 acres of his  Connecticut  home with the flowers. Here  are a couple of his photographs of  these magnificent blue flowers.Edward Steichen (American, b. Luxembourg 1879-1973), Delphiniums,1940, dye imbibition process. Bequest of Edward Steichen by Direction of Joanna T. Steichen © Joanna T. Steichen

Edward Steichen (American, b. Luxembourg 1879-1973), Delphiniums,1940, dye imbibition process. Bequest of Edward Steichen by Direction of Joanna T. Steichen © Joanna T. SteichenEdward Steichen (American, b. Luxembourg 1879-1973), Delphiniums,1940, dye imbibition process. Bequest of Edward Steichen by Direction of Joanna T. Steichen © Joanna T. Steichen
Edward Steichen (American, b. Luxembourg 1879-1973), Delphiniums,1940, dye imbibition process. Bequest of Edward Steichen by Direction of Joanna T. Steichen © Joanna T. Steichen

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Docent Training: Nature as Artifice and New Topographics

Posted by on Jun 15 2009 | Behind The Scenes, Photography

Install week is over and the summer shows are up and look fabulous!  It is pretty magical to see an  exhibition  take shape. There are always moments when you are sure it will never be ready in time, but hard work and a dedicated prep team ensure success. After a hectic week we finished cleaning plexi and hanging wall text just in time for a lively and well attended panel discussion and members opening reception for Nature as Artifice.  I don’t have any pictures from those events yet, but I do have some to share from the docent training sessions that took place Friday afternoon. Click here if you are interested in becoming a docent at George Eastman House.

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Maarje van den Heuvel talks to docents about Nature as Artifice.

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Curator, Alison Nordstrom, talks to Docents about New Topographics.

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Megalethoscope Slides

Posted by on Jun 11 2009 | Exploring the Archive

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Every year George Eastman House welcomes hundreds of researchers interested in our collections; we host photo historians, curators, students, scientists, and hobbiests from all over the world. Often they are experts in the field and we get to learn a thing or two about our  collection. A few weeks ago a former professor of mine was here to look at our collection of Megalethoscope slides.  Antonella Pelizzari teaches History of Photography at Hunter College in NYC and is an old friend of Eastman House. She is currently working on a book on  Photography  and Italy and traveled to Rochester to research and look at our collection of Megalethoscope slides. I was familiar with these delightful objects before Antonella’s visit, but I didn’t realize that we have one of the largest collections of Megalethoscopes in the world. I also learned a bit about how they work and how they are constructed, which I will share here.

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Installing the Summer Shows

Posted by on Jun 09 2009 | Behind The Scenes, Photography

We have two big  exhibitions  going up this week, which means adrenaline is flowing and the creative services team is working long hours.  

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Nature as Artifice

The first of the two  exhibitions,  Nature as  Artifice, originated in the Netherlands and was curated by Maartje van den Heuvel. Nature as Artifice  looks at the dichotomy between the perception, inspired by  the tradition of Dutch landscape painting,  of an idyllic agrarian Dutch landscape and the reality of the planned, manipulated landscape for which the Netherlands is known today.  The show features work by many well known  contemporary  Dutch artists including Hans Aarsman, Wout Berger, Cary Markerink and Theo Baart, Edwin Zwakman, Marnix Goossens, Frank van der Salm and others.  The photographs in this  exhibition  are spectacular–there really is something to be said about Dutch light.  

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Weird and Wonderful

Posted by on Jun 08 2009 | Exploring the Archive

Joe Struble, Archivist of the photography collection, periodically calls curatorial staff into the print room for “art moment”. This happens when something rare or extraordinary is pulled for photography, research, cataloging or conservation. The object might be going back into its box again for years so we like to take the opportunity to  appreciate  it. Last Friday Joe called “art moment” and we all gathered around this odd deer leg lamp with photo-offset lithograph shade.  

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Unidentified photographer, Deer Lamp, ca. 1965, photo-offset lithograph, Gift of Geoffrey Batchen

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