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Colorama: The World's Largest Photographs [Hardcover]

Eastman House Coll George , Alison Nordstrom , Peggy Roalf

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Book Description

October 2004
Billed as "The World's Largest Photographs," Eastman Kodak's 18-by-60-foot Coloramas brought photography to the masses with a spectacular display of communicative power. During its forty-year run in Grand Central Terminal in New York City, the Colorama program presented a panoramic photo album of American scenes, lifestyles, and achievements from the second half of the twentieth century. Produced in association with the George Eastman House Collection, Colorama explores the history of these colossal images. A selection of the most striking images are beautifully reproduced, making these images available to viewers nostalgic for American life in decades gone by, as well as people with a personal connection to the original display in Grand Central Station.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Aperture (October 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931788448
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931788441
  • Product Dimensions: 24.4 x 14.2 x 1.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,024,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity Aug. 3 2005
By T. Wild - Published on Amazon.com
Whilst the content is exclusive, the editorial well and knowledgeably written, and providing a facinating insight into the political and cultural mores of the United States through these originally impressive still lives, this book is ultimately a disappointment. The idea that you can take photographs that are astonishing for their sheer size and scale (their whole raison d'etre) and then publishing them in a book smaller than a regular A5 hardback is utterly absurd, presenting them with a fold in nearly every picture and losing any possible sense of scale. The publishers have missed a great opportunity here.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful photography, good critical essays Nov. 16 2004
By Jessica S. Lander - Published on Amazon.com
This compilation of Kodak's Coloramas is a great start and I hope there will be more scholarship available on the subject. The essays are suprisingly critical and provide some good insights on the societal/cultural implications of the advertisments. I only wish there were more of them. Also, this is not a complete collection of the images, which would also be great. Overall, a nice coffee table book, just wish there was more of everything.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Colorful cliches Feb. 3 2006
By Robin Benson - Published on Amazon.com
A few million passengers must have seen these colorful images over the forty years they promoted Kodak at Grand Central. A total of 565 photos, changed about every three weeks from May 1950 though they were not always one giant image, frequently two twelve foot wide ones were used either side of the central photo. Some of these are shown in the book and I think they really weaken the impact of just one photo sixty foot wide by eighteen deep.

There is no escaping that these photos are basically marketing (where people are shown there is always a camera in sight) but the fascinating thing about them is the way they capture white middle-class aspirations of fun times with their carefully posed tableaus of everyday life in bright colors. Three-quarters of the series were taken by Kodak staff photographers and the rest by professional freelancers including landscapes by Ansel Adams, who said his efforts were '...aesthetically inconsequential but technically remarkable'. Norman Rockwell apparently art directed some scenes and I guess he was in his element because so many of the photos show potential Saturday Evening Post cover material.

My only criticism of this handsome little book is that there aren't enough of the 565 photos in the book, only forty-three are shown as feature images. Considering how nostalgic these now look I would have loved to see at least a hundred or so, presented in a coffee-table style large book.

Incidentally, put Kodak Colorama into your favorite search engine and you can see a website devoted to the program, with some interesting technical shots of how these huge transparencies were created.

***FOR AN INSIDE LOOK click 'customer images' under the cover.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgia Revisited Oct. 9 2005
By Melly Mel - Published on Amazon.com
I appreciated this book for the nostalgia factor. Too young to have seen these photos the first time around, I enjoyed seeing scenes from a happier era. I especially liked the photos from around the NY area including upstate NY and Connecticut.

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