In the final part of our photo process series we’re looking at the Gelatin Silver Print. We’re exploring the invention of the process and talking with our curators and historians, who help us put these processes into historical and cultural contexts.
The Gelatin Silver Print process allowed to make black and white images, and is responsible for all the black and white movies, and color photography.
We recently acquired a shell covered Lighthouse. Yes, a shell covered lighthouse. This delicate construction is of particular interest to us because it contains a daguerreotype inset at the bottom of the tower. The daguerreotype displays three women and a young girl – we believe the image to be circa 1850, while the lighthouse was likely built in the 1920′s.
Alison Nordström our senior curator of photographs explains,
“we welcome the opportunity to exhibit a piece with such visual appeal. The Lighthouse is an example of how we can provide an accessible point of entry for a more serious consideration of our daguerreotype holdings. It also adds value to our collection of similar objects, such as the Ansel Adams coffee tin and the deer leg lamp with photographic lampshade.”
This interesting and admittedly, different piece was carefully examined and cleaned and can be seen currently in the Ideas in Things exhibit.
We are excited to present the regional premiere of the Lost Bird Project at the Dryden Theatre Saturday, July 28, 8 p.m. & Sunday, July 29, 2 p.m. A panel discussion will follow the film, followed by a walk through the gardens to view the exhibit, all five bird sculptures. Use the map and explore all five lost bird sculptures on the property and in the gardens. Advance tickets available now.
A Few Minutes with Sculptor, Todd McGrain
The passenger pigeon, Carolina parakeet, Labrador duck, great auk, and the heath hen — diverse species of North American birds with one thing in common — modern extinction.
Sculptor Todd McGrain has memorialized these birds in a series of large-scale bronze sculptures that will be on view in the Eastman House gardens July 3 through September 30. We recently talked with McGrain about the project and its import. How did you come to do this project?
Reaching into a bucket of clay and forming the shape of a small preening duck was the beginning moment of this project. While I was working on this first sculpture, I came across Chris Cokinos’ book Hope Is the Thing with Feathers. Chris thoughtfully tells the stories, describing the decline of extinct North American birds — and the sculpture took on new meaning. It became a memorial.
How did you select which birds to memorialize?
The birds memorialized in this project were driven to extinction in modern times. I became interested in these particular birds because of the beauty of their form. However, their stories of habitat loss and overhunting, bringing once abundant species to an end, propelled the project and gave it meaning. I found each of these birds and their individual stories thoroughly compelling.
What is the goal for the project?
By keeping the memory of these birds alive, we hope to contribute to the efforts by naturalists, scientists, ornithologists, environmentalists, teachers, and others attempting to raise awareness
about the current loss of plant and animal species. Our deteriorating environment puts fragile species under stress.
How did you decide on scale and use of materials for the sculptures?
The sculptures are as large as humans and that parity encourages a sympathy as people approach them — they are undeniable. The sculptures were created to be displayed in the birds’ natural
habitats, which demanded bronze for durability. The tactility of bronze makes people wish to touch them, deepening the viewer’s sympathy for, and understanding of, the birds’ loss.
This project is the subject of a documentary film. How did the film evolve?
Andy Stern, the producer, and I began researching possibilities for placing the sculptures in locations most closely related to each bird’s decline. We soon realized that the people and places
we were finding would be invaluable in telling the story of each bird and approached Middlemarch Films to join forces to produce the documentary. Through the generosity of the entire
Middlemarch crew, we were welcomed into the world of documentary filmmaking. We are particularly grateful to director Deborah Dickson for her talent and persistent vision.
Saturday, July 28, 8 p.m. & Sunday, July 29, 2 p.m.(Deborah Dickson, US 2012, 60 min., Digital Projection)
Following the July 28 screening, join us for a panel discussion with director Deborah Dickson, sculptor Todd McGrain, producer Muffie Meyer, cinematographer Scott Anger, and executive producer Andy
Stern. Following the July 29 screening join sculptor Todd McGrain for a walking tour of the grounds to discuss his work. Advance tickets available now.
Street hawkers "selling" Huckleberry Finn outside the Coronado Theatre in 1931.
Dazzling marquees, large cut-outs of stars, eye-catching posters greeting passersby, street hawkers, parades, and star appearances (or look-alike contests) — just a few ways Hollywood studios encouraged movie-theater owners to create a buzz in towns and cities to “sell” movies during the Golden Age of cinema.
Ballyhoo: The Art of Selling the Movies, an exhibition on view now at George Eastman House, highlights the innovative lobby displays, outdoor advertising, and merchant tie-ins that were a hallmark of film exhibition during the era of the corporate studio system, which was at its peak between 1925 and 1950. The featured images are drawn primarily from the publicity stills and photographs collected by Ray Rueby Sr., and the studio publicity departments of Warner Bros. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
During the 25 years that are the focus of this exhibition, studios devised bigger, brassier, and glitzier productions to entice patrons facing the Great Depression and a world war. The publicity efforts that accompanied the films are, in this exhibition, the star of the show.
Attention-grabbing signs for "Private Hargrove" at the Astor Theatre in 1944.
The motion picture industry was considered a wild and uncertain concern in its first two decades. By the early 1920s, as smaller concerns merged into fewer and larger corporations, the industry became stable enough to be considered a legitimate business by Wall Street investors. During these formative years, motion picture studios created a system of vertical integration that allowed them to control every aspect of the business — production, distribution, and exhibition. Corporate ownership of movie theatres and block booking ensured regular exhibition throughout the country.
“We sell tickets to theaters, not movies.”
- Marcus Loew, Loew’s Inc. (1920s)
Studios also provided pre-packaged publicity campaigns to their theatre chains to help fill theater seats in a highly competitive market. Much of the publicity was carried out at the site of exhibition, the theaters themselves. In the age of the “movie palace,” theaters could be alluring structures in their own right, but exhibitors continually refashioned their facades and lobbies to attract audiences week after week.
Theater managers adapted the studios’ strategies — provided to them in the form of pressbooks — to their own venues. Theater managers worked with local merchants on cooperative campaigns (tie-ins) to advertise films in shop windows, stage contests and giveaways, and display merchandise from stores in theatre lobbies. Upon entering the lobby itself, moviegoers encountered creative displays embellished with movie stills and even three-dimensional recreations of movie settings.
Ballyhoo is part of the See: Untold Stories exhibition, which showcases the Eastman House collections, on view through Sept. 16, 2012.
On April 12, 1861, at 4:30 am, Confederate forces attacked the US military installation at Fort Sumter in SouthCarolina. At the time, Fort Sumter was under construction and the Union troops inside were short of provisions. Whilethis date is used as the beginning of the war, the events hadalready been set in motion by the election of AbrahamLincoln as President of the United States in November 1860and by the secession of seven states from the United States tothe Confederate States of America.
Unidentified Photographer FORT SUMTER SHOWING THE EFFECTS OF THEBOMBARDMENT BY THE ARTILLERY OF THE ARMY & NAVY OF THE UNITED STATES WHILE OCCUPIEDBY THE REBELS FROM APRIL 1861 TO FEBRUARY 1865, ca. 1865, Albumen print
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.