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The artist

At the start of this collection were giant, backlit images by Kodak, in the hall of the 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. In true soap-opera style, for over 40 years Kodak Colorama Display staged the story of an ideal family without contradiction or contestation, in other words, the very expression of the post-war American dream, in its most pleasant and universally adoptable form. George Eastman Museum  ... See more See less

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About the artwork

For forty years, the enormous color transparencies that graced Grand Central Terminal in New York City touched the hearts of millions. Today, the Colorama collection represents not only an appealing and believable idealization of American life, but a nuanced and effective use of photographs to create desire for the products and activities they sold. As a museum of the photograph in history and culture, located in the city that Kodak made and made famous the George Eastman Museum is uniquely equipped to celebrate and explore these innovative and seminal advertisements. Now, years after the last Colorama has left Grand Central, a reexamination of these enchanting images offers insight into the histories of photographic practices and technologies, advertising, and the American story. Five hundred and sixty-five Coloramas were produced between 1950 and 1990. We are pleased to share a selection of these Coloramas with a new generation of viewers, who, we hope, will respond, not only as Edward Steichen did in 1950, “agog and smiling, all just feeling good, ” but with a thought to how these productions shaped a generation.

Artwork details

Date photograph was taken

31 March 2017

Artwork subject

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