Blog

Submitted by Bruce Barnes,

Eugene Richards talks with teens about photography

For the past five years, I have been honored to be the Ron and Donna Fielding Director of the George Eastman Museum. As I reflect, I am thankful to our great staff, the Eastman Museum Council, and all of our members, donors, and volunteers for their essential contributions. I am grateful to our trustees and active trustees emeriti, who have worked with and supported me to formulate our strategic vision. In particular, I thank Thomas Jackson, Steven Schwartz, and Kevin Gavagan—who have served as chairs of the Board of Trustees during my tenure—and former chair Stephen Ashley, who has been an invaluable advisor.

Submitted by Bruce Barnes,

Eugene Richards talks with teens about photography

The George Eastman Museum continually seeks out ways to collaborate with other cultural, educational, and community organizations. Such joint efforts create exciting opportunities to reach out to new audiences and share the tremendous assets in our region.
Submitted by Guest Post,

James Card

After two years of carefully selecting, scanning, editing, tagging, and in many cases transcribing tens of thousands of documents from the George Eastman Museum's Technicolor collections, our work here is done. Thanks to the generosity of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Technicolor, and the DeMille Foundation, as well as the incomparable expertise of our colleagues at the George Eastman Museum, the Technicolor Online Research Archive is live and freely available to anyone interested in the history of one of the most important companies in motion-picture history.
Submitted by Bruce Barnes,

James Card

Universally admired by our museum’s trustees and staff, Steven Schwartz is a strong leader with a keen understanding of the role of a nonprofit board. The museum has greatly benefitted from his term as chair of the Board of Trustees, a responsibility he assumed in 2014 after joining the board in 2005 and serving as an officer for several years. As chair, Steven has emphasized the importance of developing our board and increasing trustee engagement. Deeply committed to giving back to society, he formerly served as treasurer of the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

Submitted by Guest Post,

James Card

During his tenure as the first curator of motion pictures at the George Eastman House from 1948 to 1977, James Card produced a collection of typed notes for film introductions he delivered at the Dryden Theatre, speaking engagements outside of the museum, and drafts of published works. The museum holds around two hundred of these documents that I have been processing for my personal project as a student of the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation. The overall goal of my project is to provide access to this collection through the museum’s website. 

Submitted by Guest Post,

Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford

The presentation of a silent film is generally not complete without a musical accompaniment, whether piano, organ, or orchestra of varying size. As modes of presentation became more standardized from the aughts to the early teens, demand grew for music that would easily synchronize with the images on screen. Publishers were quick to recruit composers to meet this demand. From 1913 through the end of the silent era in 1929, many thousands of compositions were written on both sides of the Atlantic to suit different emotions, moods, and scenes. As one of this year’s students of the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation, I chose cataloging this collection as my personal project due to my love of both music and the silent cinema.

Submitted by Guest Post,

Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford

I adopted Douglas and Mary as my “lucky stars” quite some time ago, so when I arrived at the museum to attend The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation, I delighted over the prospect of working with the Douglas Fairbanks Nitrate Still Negatives Collection. Thanks to my thoughtful classmates and instructors, my dream came true.

Submitted by Kate Meyers Emery,

Samples of student photographs

The George Eastman Museum invited a group of six RIT students from Professor Angela Kelly’s Photography Arts II course to tour the exhibition Robert Cumming: The Secret Life of Objects and make their own photographs inspired by the artist’s prolific career. The students connected with the witty nature of Cumming’s work, creating their own take on his use of illusion and the constructed image. We are excited to share their images and words about how they drew inspiration.

Submitted by Guest Post,

Rachel working on her research project

Rachel Behnke is currently pursuing a certificate in media and film preservation at The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation. In this blog post, she shares her independent processing project in Stills, Posters and Paper (SPP) collections. 

Submitted by Bruce Barnes,

Photograph from the film, the lost world, of three men arguing

The Trump administration’s 2018 budget calls for the complete elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). This draconian act would be a harsh setback for the George Eastman Museum and other arts, cultural, and educational institutions. It would harm many people who benefit from the agencies’ programs: artists; scholars and students; veterans and the disabled; and children, parents, and the elderly. It is urgent that we all advocate for these institutions, which are invaluable to our culture and society.

Submitted by Guest Post,

Photograph of man on a park bench

In the beginning of January, I had the pleasure of spending four days doing research in the archives at the Eastman Museum. During this time, I consulted two collections—the newly catalogued Leo Hurwitz Papers and some of Eastman’s own departmental files from its first film curator James Card. My interest in these collections stems from my research on American independent film distributor Thomas Brandon (1908-1982). Brandon had worked with both Hurwitz and Card at various points during his career as a member of the New York Workers Film and Photo League and employee at Garrison Films in the 1930s, and as President of his own company, Brandon Films, Inc., from 1940 to 1968.
Submitted by Guest Post,

Photograph of man on a park bench

Although select women artists have long been recognized as playing integral roles in many of photography’s dominant histories, the number of women whose work remains underappreciated (or even unknown outside of niche circles) remains disproportionately high when compared to their male colleagues. The five women artists whose photographs are highlighted in this post work in a variety of modes—still life, portraiture, street photography—to make images that, despite being wildly diverse, are, I believe, of the highest quality and worthy of more widespread recognition.

Submitted by Lisa Hostetler,

Three hand-colored photographs of women

As a historian of photography, I’ve always been grateful that the medium’s canon contains a relatively large number of women’s names when compared to the other visual arts. Anna Atkins and Julia Margaret Cameron are well-known characters in the story of photography’s first few decades, and Cindy Sherman and Annie Leibowitz are only a couple of the medium’s more recent stars. One reason for this may be that the invention of photography occurred in 1839—well into the modern age—whereas painting and sculpture are much older, by millennia. Still, the first famous woman artist that comes to my mind is Artemisia Gentileschi, who worked in the early 1600s. It is impossible to deny that most people would cite more men than women when asked to name famous photographers. Therefore, I thought I would mention five who, in my opinion, should be better known.

Submitted by Jamie Allen,

Three hand-colored photographs of women

When asked if I could name five women artists, my immediate reaction was, “of course I can name five women artists,” and the long list began rolling in my mind. When asked to write a blog about five women artists my thought was, “but which five should I highlight?” I tossed around several ideas: women and the hand-made object; queer women; five women our collection would be incomplete without, or even five women our collection lacks! I kept coming back to five portraits. Each one with a story to tell, drawing me in.
Submitted by Guest Post,

Three hand-colored photographs of women

Women photographers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were always outnumbered but never outshone by their male counterparts. Anna Atkins, Julia Margaret Cameron, Genèvieve-Élizabeth Disdéri, Frances Benjamin Johnston, Gertrude Käsebier—these photographers are but a few women celebrated for their outstanding contributions to the art of photography. Countless others worked tirelessly to advance the burgeoning field. Often these women labored in the busy studios of influential men or in the hushed solitude of their homes. Their work dazzles and intrigues me, even though most remain anonymous and their contributions to photography largely unacknowledged.

Submitted by Guest Post,

Still from The Forest for the Trees Film

While not wanting to draw special attention to every single film created by a woman artist that is showing at the Dryden, we do believe that it is important to acknowledge the gender inequality itself. It is due to this, that we are celebrating International Women's Day with a screening of a brand new 35mm print of Maren Ade’s very first film The Forest for the Trees (2003). If you have seen her latest, Oscar-nominated Toni Erdmann, and if you agree that cinema only rarely achieves such levels of intellectual complexity and emotional intensity, then all I can say is that unless you come to the Dryden on Wednesday, March 8, at 7:30 p.m., you haven’t seen anything yet!
Submitted by Bruce Barnes,

Vittorio Storaro (center) with director Francis Ford Coppola (left) and production designer Dean Tavoularis during filming of Apocalypse Now (1979)

Cinema is, perhaps more than any other art form, a combination of performing and visual arts. As originally conceived, the George Eastman Award is to be presented to actors, directors, and cinematographers. Over the past twenty years, its recipients have, with one exception, been actors—gifted performers who are immediately recognizable because they are visible on screen. We have been neglecting the essential contributions of the visual artists behind the camera— cinematographers. Although a dozen cinematographers have received the award since the first ceremony in 1955, none has been honored in this way since 1976.

Submitted by Kate Meyers Emery,

Banner image for 5WomenArtists

Join us throughout the month as we share a wide range of women artists relating to photography and film. Each week, one of our curators will share their list of five women artists on our blog, as well as films stills, photographs and facts about these incredible women using the hashtag #5WomenArtists on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Submitted by Guest Post,

Still from Apocalypse Now

This article, written by Jack Garner, was originally published as part of his Gannett News Service reviews, and is a segment from his book, From My Seat on the Aisle, which can be purchased in the Museum Store. Garner shared the segment with us in celebration of the upcoming George Eastman Award honoring Vittorio Storaro, and our screening of Apocalypse Now Redux (2001).

Submitted by Guest Post,

Flowers from Dutch Connection

This guest post is written by Sammi Cohen, author and creator of The Soubrette Brunette, a vintage fashion blog. Sammi is a fan of Dutch Connection, and wrote a fantastic post about last year's display, so we invited her to share a little about her experience.

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