Selections from the Collection
Today, tourism is one of the biggest industries in the world, but traveling for pleasure reaches far back into history. This rotation in the Collection Gallery looks at how the invention of photography in 1839 helped to expand visual understanding of the world, especially for those without the means to travel. Additionally, the selection of objects from the museum’s photography and technology collections highlights how the history of photography has intersected with the evolution of tourism in the United States and abroad.
From views of the Victorian Grand Tour to snapshots from road trips on Route 66, the photographs—including travel albums, stereocards, daguerreotypes and woven inkjet prints—examine how photography and tourism influence each other. Works by Ansel Adams (American, 1902–1984) and Fannie E. Coburn (American, 1848–1928) highlight the impacts photography had on burgeoning tourism destinations following the creation of the National Park Service in the United States. Pieces by Shan Goshorn (American, Eastern Band of Cherokee, 1957–2018) and Lala Deen Dayal (Indian, 1844–1905) give us a lens into the cause and effect of cultural tourism, while photographs by Martin Parr (British, b. 1952) and Steve Fitch (American, b. 1949) show a comical side of tourist pictures.
Tourism and photographic technology were similarly interrelated. Camera designers advanced the concept of portable cameras from the earliest days of photography. The introduction of commercially manufactured gelatin dry plates in the 1880s increased the size of the amateur photographer market, and portable cameras were designed specifically for this emerging group.
Illustrating the changes in cameras for the tourist photographer, the selection on view includes the ca. 1882 Touriste, a folding dry plate magazine camera manufactured by E. Enjalbert of Paris; the ca. 1913 Tourist Multiple, one of the first 35mm cameras ever made; and the ca. 1925 Leica I Model A, which set the styling trend for 35mm cameras.
The display also includes a rare example of the original 1936 35mm Kodachrome film, Eastman Kodak Company’s first natural color film, whose high-contrast colors made it ideal for travel photography. Also on view is an example of the ca. 1938 Kodaslide Model 1 projector, the Kodak projector designed for use with Kodachrome transparencies (slides), and the Kodak Carousel Model 550 projector, ca. 1963.
About the Collection Gallery
The George Eastman Museum photography collection is among the best and most comprehensive in the world. With holdings that include objects ranging in date from the announcement of the medium’s invention in 1839 to the present day, the collection represents the full history of photography. Works by renowned masters of the medium exist side-by-side with vernacular and scientific photographs. The collection also includes all applications of the medium, from artistic pursuit to commercial enterprise and from amateur pastime to documentary record, as well as all types of photographic processes, from daguerreotypes to digital prints.
The museum's Collection Gallery is dedicated to rotating installations that demonstrate photography’s historical trajectory through photographs and cameras drawn from the collection. The selection of photographs changes regularly, and each rotation offers new opportunities to engage with the museum's treasures.
The Collection Gallery is sponsored in part by ESL Federal Credit Union.
For videos and a glossary of the photographic processes, visit eastman.org/processglossary.