Guest Post's blog

The Technicolor Online Research Archive is Live!

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.

The Life and Writings of James Card

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. 

Not So Silent Films: Cataloging Musical Accompaniments

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.

Playing Detective with the Douglas Fairbanks Nitrate Still Negatives Collection

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.

Researching at the George Eastman Museum

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.

#5WomenArtists: Diverse Female Photographers to Know

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.

#5WomenArtists: The Women Who Hand-Tinted and Colored Photographic Work in the 19th Century

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.

Women Artists at the Dryden Theatre: International Women's Day

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!

Jack Garner on Apocalypse Now Redux

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).

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