August 6, 2012

Kodak's Colorama Gets An Art Exhibit In Grand Central

The Colorama was a massive advertisement for Kodak prominently placed on the eastern wall of Grand Central Station's cavernous main room from 1950 to 1990.  It displayed an ginormous transparency of a Kodak image in which someone was using an instamatic camera or Super8 movie camera to record the scene.  As I've written here before, George Eastman didn't invent photography but he invented the idea that people should take pictures of each other as mementos of a occassion or trip. And the Colorama was the ultimate purveyor of the Kodak message, seen by thousands of commuters every day for 40 years.

There is currently an exhibit in Grand Central of the original photos that were displyed in the Colorama.   The pictures, 36 of them hung as prints in the MTA store/museum at Grand Central, are quintissential Americana scenes of familys and iconic American landscapes like the Grand Tetons, an endless wheat field in the plains, or a California beach.

It's a great sample and the only disappointing thing is that the exhibit centers just on photos from the 1960s. I would have loved to have seen how these photos and their depictions of the American family evolved over the decades.  You can see some of that as womean go from more traiditional family roles (a mother in a dress playing with a daughter playing with dolls, 1962) to small hints of women's lib (a women in capri pants biking atop a mountain in the Pacific Northwest, 1967). The photos will be up until November of this year.

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