Photography and America’s National Parks Exhibition at George Eastman Museum
Programs and Lectures
George Eastman, founder of the Eastman Kodak Company, popularized photography and earned two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for the invention of roll film. Eastman also invented the roll film holder, developed the dry plate technology that simplified the mechanics of photography and created bromide paper, which became a standard in the industry. Eastman’s transparent film enabled Thomas Edison to perfect the kinetoscope, the forerunner of the motion picture.
Eastman established a $200,000,000 industry and devoted most of his life to philanthropy. His gifts made the University of Rochester and MIT into first tier schools. His donations were the largest of the 1920s in support of the education of African-Americans. He established dental clinics for children around the globe and founded the medical and dental school at the University of Rochester. He organized community music instruction and concerts. He built the Eastman Theater, still one of the most eloquent concert halls in the U.S.
After his death, the state of New York converted the George Eastman House into the second museum in the world to exhibit photography after the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The George Eastman Museum was also the second museum in the world to collect and archive motion pictures. The George Eastman Museum has developed one of the world’s largest photography collections with a total of several million objects, including over 450,000 photographs from the beginnings of the medium in 1839 to the present. The collection also includes more than 28,000 motion pictures, one of the leading libraries of cinema and photography books, as well as an extensive archive of George Eastman’s documents and memorabilia. Each year now the museum presents at least ten curated exhibitions. However, in the early days of the museum exhibitions were much less frequent.
While Beaumont Newhall was head curator and Minor White was an assistant curator in 1957 the George Eastman Museum hosted a solo exhibition of 25 black and white prints by Philip Hyde. George Eastman Museum purchased three of Hyde’s silver gelatin prints for its permanent collection.
In 2010, David Leland Hyde, Philip Hyde’s son and executor of his estate, contacted the previous curator of the George Eastman Museum to inquire as to the status of the three black and white prints in the museum collection and gather more information from the museum records about the 1957 show. The museum did not have the prints on display or online, but they did exist in the archives.
Now in 2016, to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service, the George Eastman Museum is hosting an exhibition called Photography and America’s National Parks that includes the photography of the early pioneers, the famous modernists and many contemporary photographers. For a list of all of the photographers in the show see Philip Hyde in Photography and America’s National Parks Exhibition at the George Eastman Museum.
To compliment the show, the museum has co-published with Aperture, Picturing America’s National Parks with introductory essay by curator Jamie M. Allen.
David Leland Hyde wrote about the exhibition for the June Special National Parks Issue of Outdoor Photographer magazine. David Leland Hyde also wrote a special feature article about Philip Hyde’s role in the conservation campaigns that helped make more national parks and wilderness than any other photographer. Pick up a copy soon as special issues of Outdoor Photographer are known to sell out.
Lectures, Artist Talks and Special Events
A special preview party for the Photography and America’s National Parks exhibition will be held at the museum on Friday, June 3, from 7 to 9 p.m. Curator Jamie M. Allen will provide an overview of the exhibition, and guests will enjoy access to the galleries, cash bar, light refreshments, and live music. Free to museum members. Tickets: $15, $10 for students with student ID. Reservations are encouraged at (585) 234-6064.
LECTURES AND ARTIST TALKS
The museum is offering a variety of lectures. Topics include a travelogue of Yellowstone, the history of Kodak Picture Spots, and how the staff prepared the works for display in the exhibition. Talks by photographers John Pfahl, Willie Osterman, and Sean McFarland offer the opportunity to learn about the works on view from the artists themselves. All of these programs are free to members and included with museum admission.
Saturday, June 4, 2 p.m. Artist’s Talk: John Pfahl Buffalo-based photographer John Pfahl explores our relationship to the landscape as framed with the photographic lens. Book signing to follow. Generously sponsored by Dawn Lipson.
Saturday, July 9, 2 p.m. Wish You Were Here—Special Edition: Yellowstone Travelogue with Tom Tischer Wish You Were Here photography lecture series sponsor Tom Tischer will share a slideshow of photographs from his travels to Yellowstone National Park.
Saturday, July 23, 12 p.m. Focus 45: Framing America’s National Parks Emily Phoenix, the museum’s chief object preparator, will discuss framing photographic objects in Photography and America’s National Parks.
Thursday, August 25, 4 p.m. Artist’s Talk: Willie Osterman Willie Osterman, photographer and professor in the photographic arts department at RIT, will join associate curator Jamie M. Allen for a gallery talk about his work. Generously sponsored by Dawn Lipson.
Saturday, August 27, 12 p.m. Focus 45: Kodak Picture Spots and the Perfect Picture Leslie K. Brown will discuss the history of these iconic signs, from their use as roadside markers in the 1920s to their installation in national parks, world’s fairs, and theme parks.
Thursday, September 22, 6 p.m. Wish You Were Here: Sean McFarland Sean McFarland will discuss his work, which explores the relationships between history, photography, and the representation of landscape. Exhibitions open until 8 p.m. Free for students w/ ID. Generously sponsored by museum member Thomas N. Tischer.
Sunday, July 31, 2 p.m. Music in the American Wild This new music initiative honors the centennial of the National Park Service. Seven performers and eleven composers—all affiliated with Eastman School of Music—have come together to bring works inspired by the national parks to communities across the country. Under the leadership of flutist Emlyn Johnson, Music in the American Wild will premiere these works on a summer 2016 tour including performances at Mammoth Cave, Great Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah, and Mount Rainier National Parks, as well as the Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington DC) and the Eastman Museum. FREE admission to concert. Museum admission on July 31: $10 (adults & seniors).
FILM AND AMERICA’S NATIONAL PARKS
Throughout July and August, the Dryden Theatre is screening films shot in national parks and national forests. Widely diverse stylistically and thematically—from Howard Hawks’s The Big Sky to Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind—the ten films in the series celebrate the beauty and the wildness of these lands which refuse to be tamed even by the mighty hands of Hollywood. Tickets: $8 general, $6 members, $4 students. * Dryden Kids screenings free for 17 & under.
Friday, July 15, 8 p.m. Zabriskie Point (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1970)
Wednesday, July 20, 8 p.m. The Big Sky (Howard Hawks, 1952)
Sunday, July 24, 2 p.m. * Shane (George Stevens, 1953)
Wednesday, July 27, 8 p.m. Jeremiah Johnson (Sydney Pollack, 1972)
Sunday, August 7, 2 p.m. * Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Steven Spielberg, 1977)
Saturday, August 13, 8 p.m. Easy Rider (Dennis Hopper, 1969)
Saturday, August 20, 8 p.m. The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982)
Sunday, August 21, 2 p.m. * E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (Steven Spielberg, 1982)
Friday, August 26, 8 p.m. Dances with Wolves (Kevin Costner, 1999)
Wednesday, August 31, 8 p.m. Starship Troopers (Paul Verhoeven, 1997)
PICTURING AMERICA’S NATIONAL PARKS—A NEW EASTMAN MUSEUM BOOK
Published in partnership with Aperture, this book traces the relationship between photography and the national parks and features stunning photographs of America’s most beloved landscapes. An informative essay from exhibition curator Jamie M. Allen describes the role of photography in promoting America’s national heritage, land conservation, and wildlife preservation. This book is available for $50 ($45 members) in the Eastman Museum Store or online at eastman.org/store.
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