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COLORAMA: THE LEGENDARY KODAK COLLECTION


In 1950, the Kodak Colorama Display collection was launched with huge Kodak images in the hall of Grand Central Station in New-York. Through their spectacular, almost surrealistic stagings, these panoramas became communication tools in service to the promotion of the brand’s film and cameras. For over forty years, this collection showcased the history of ideal families leading exemplary lives, without contradiction or controversy. In other words, they were the very expression of the post-war American dream, in its most pleasant and universally adoptable form.

KODAK COLORAMA DISPLAY COLLECTION: HERBERT ARCHER

From 1954 to 1972, for Kodak, the photographer Herbert Archer captured scenes of American families’ dream holidays. Displayed upon the interior balcony of Grand Central Station in New-York, these photos are part of the Colorama series. They will forever mark the history of photography through their candid and singular style.

KODAK COLORAMA DISPLAY COLLECTION: HANK MAYER

In 1964, for photographer Hank Mayer this ideal life was played out on water, aboard a boat launched at full speed. Displayed in Grand Central Station in New-York for several weeks, this shot was seen by more than 600,000 people a day.

BIOGRAPHY

Launching this collection were giant images by Kodak, in the hall of Grand Central Station in New York, which the firm used at the time to proclaim its photographic omnipotence. Used as advertising tools in the legendary Manhattan train station from 1950 to 1990, the plastered images were transparent and backlit, with exceptional dimensions spanning 18 metres wide by 6 metres high. This was a first in the world of photography. Through their spectacular, almost surrealistic stagings, these panoramas became communication tools in service to the promotion of the brand’s film and cameras. For over 40 years Kodak Colorama Display staged the story of ideal families with exemplary lives, without contradiction or contestation. In other words, the very expression of the post-war American dream, in its most pleasant and universally adoptable form.  ... See more See less

KODAK COLORAMA DISPLAY COLLECTION : PETER GALES

The Kodak Colorama Display is a monumental enterprise undertaken by the Kodak firm between 1950 and 1990, which consisted of plastering huge backlit images in the hall of Grand Central Station in New-York, Manhattan’s legendary train station. Through its surrealistic stagings that sought to reveal the “American Way of Life”, the panoramas became veritable communication tools in service to the promotion of Kodak film and cameras.

KODAK COLORAMA DISPLAY COLLECTION - CHARLES O BAKER


Certainly, the images in the Colorama collection were primarily used for the commercial promotion of products from the Kodak firm that are seen in each setting. These panoramas appeal to the common and classic theme of the passage of time, to highlight the function of the camera as a means of capture and preserve the best moments of a life, whether they are birthdays, family reunions, weddings, or scenes from holidays.

KODAK COLORAMA DISPLAY COLLECTION - LEE HOWICK


These monumental shots, however, in their aesthetics and ambition, go beyond mere advertising statement and technological prowess. They also tell the story of an ideal family and produce, in the process, a discourse voluntarily patriotic and conservative America of the 1950s and 1960s. In this colorful promotion of the "American Way of Life," the counterculture is nonexistent and everything seems pure behind the bright colors and frozen smiles of the playful characters.