See: Untold Stories

From March 10, 2012 through September 23, 2012 in Special Exhibition Galleries

George Eastman House turns to its own unparalleled collections for a survey of photography from the earliest efforts in the 19th century to the most recent techniques and aesthetics. See: Untold Stories, on view March 10 through Sept. 16, 2012, is the first of several exhibitions showcasing the collections, in an effort to share a wide variety of the little known and rarely seen.

Marilyn at the Drive-In

Philippe Halsman
1952, printed ca. 1981
gelatin silver print
© Halsman Archive

The Eastman House holds nearly 500,000 photographs representing every major process and the work of more than 14,000 photographers. In addition to great photographic art, the collection holds important examples of the photograph’s role is shaping and defining our culture including photojournalism, propaganda, advertising, family snapshots, and postcards. The collection at Eastman House is one of the largest museum collections of photographs in the world, yet the scale of these holdings means only a small percentage ever comes above ground for public display.

“Despite the importance of our archive as a whole, our audience has been exposed to only a few of our images and they are often already well-known,” said Dr. Alison Nordström, Eastman House senior curator of photographs and director of exhibitions. “Untold Stories lets us open boxes that have literally been closed for decades and share a larger selection of our remarkable holdings.”

Neil Winokur (American, b. 1945)
U, 2007, from the portfolio "A to Z"
Color print/Cibachrome process
© Neil Winokur
George Eastman House collections.

The collection material will be presented in the way the artists intended it to be seen, in groups, sets and portfolios. Among the material shown will be a selection of prints from Ansel Adams’s first portfolios (1948-1963); proof prints by Edward Steichen; images of Marilyn Monroe by Philippe Halsman; a selection of daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes donated to the museum by distinguished collector Donald Weber; the original 1876-1877 woodburytypes of John Thomson’s Street Life in London; dye-transfer prints by Harold Edgerton; “Roll, Jordon, Roll” by Doris Ulman made in the Sea Islands of Georgia in the early 1930s; Garry Winogrand’s “Women are Beautiful” series; Neil Winokur’s “A to Z” portfolio; and commercial work by Joel-Peter Witkin. 

The Eastman House motion picture collection will be represented with the accompanying exhibition Ballyhoo: The Art of Selling the Movies, which draws on an exceptional array of images from keybook stills plus pressbooks that offer suggestions for local advertising of individual films. Ballyhoo will present the viewer with the advertising tools and exploitation propaganda that studio publicity departments conjured up and passed into the hands of resourceful theater managers.

Cameras from the technology collection will augment the photographic displays as will a series of videos featuring Eastman House process historian Mark Osterman, who will demonstrate the important photographic processes of the 19th and 20th centuries. A timeline placing the history of photography in the context of world events will add further interpretation to the exhibition.

“This widely varied selection of mini-exhibition will appeal to every taste and interest,” Nordström said. “We are delighted at the opportunity to give our audience a glimpse inside our vaults as we share this wonderful material.”

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