Day Four and I’m starting to understand what this place is all about. The Chautauqua Institution is a kind of cruise ship on land for smart, interested people. Each of nine weeks in the summer has a theme – this week’s, of course, is photography, and Museum Director Tony Bannon has designed the morning amphitheatre lecture series as well as the afternoon interfaith lecture program on ethics. But it’s not just people who are interested in photography that are here.
Since the Chautauqua Institution began more than 120 years ago, people have gathered here to explore, discuss, learn, appreciate, and be moved to action. Some come for the entire summer, some for just one week. There are scads of fifth and sixth generation Chautauquans – it’s clear this place gets in your DNA quickly. And I’m guessing that once you start spending your off-time in this kind of retreat, nothing else quite compares.
There is an insatiable curiosity here. Every lecture, every talk, every performance, every event seems filled to capacity. This morning astrophysicist Margaret Geller spoke about using photography to map the universe, and the audience was rapt. She closed her talk with the following statement, which just about sums up why Eastman House is a partner here this week:
“The images we make are a measure of the reach of our curiosity – of our ability to ask remarkable questions. Even more remarkable is that we can answer them by taking photographs.”
This seems to sum up the Chautauqua experience,too. Exploring our universe. Asking questions. Searching for answers. And at least for this week, using photographs as a tool for understanding.
Chautauqua also seems to be about recognizing and appreciated the gifts that make our world better…the arts, education, culture, the beauty of nature. So, in the spirit of Chautauqua, here’s a little photo essay of what some of us have been able to experience here in just the past 24 hours!
Crowd gathering and then taking a ‘Colorama’ image in Bestor PlazaAttendees at Wednesday’s talk by Sports Illustrated Picture Editor Jimmy Colton looking at the illustrations for the talk in photo books created by Kodak.
Part of the Eastman House display of cameras here at Chautauqua this week.
Eastman Young Professional Rachel Pikus and Eliza Kozlowski, Director of Communications and Visitor Engagement for Eastman House, share a moment with the Babe.
purple martin houses….these, combined with bat houses, keep the mosquito population at almost nil.
Margaret Geller sharing photographs of galaxies.
More later….great speakers this afternoon that I’ll be anxious to share with you.