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Kodak Colorama | "World's Largest Photographs" Return to Grand Central Terminal

Aug. 7th, 2012 | Comments 0 | Make a Comment   
Kodak Colorama
Photo Courtesy of George Eastman House
From 1950 to 1990, the Kodak company displayed what were described as “The World’s Largest Photographs,” on one of the balconies inside New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. Measuring 18 feet tall by 60 feet wide, these iconic photographs served both as advertisements and as a series of frozen moments— a type of window into which viewers could peek into an idealized rendering of American society. Familial structures, landscapes, and leisure activities were captured and expanded, broadening the vision of what it meant to be an American. Over the course of 40 years, 565 Coloramas were hung in Grand Central Terminal, and changed out every three weeks.

To achieve the size, the photographs were printed onto transparencies, which were spliced together and then backlit. For the first time in over twenty years, the Kodak Coloramas are returning to Grand Central Terminal in a special exhibit at the New York Transit Museum Gallery. However, the thirty-six prints of the original images, measuring two feet high and six feet wide, are considerably smaller than their predecessors. The exhibit travels internationally and was created by the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film.

The Colorama collection features work from famous photographers Ansel Adams and Ellie Porter, shots of well-known celebrities such as Normal Rockwell, Diane Sawyer, and TV’s Ozzie and Harriett. Also included is the first public photo of the Earth as witnessed from the moon. Curator Alison Nordstrom said, “These illuminated images reflected and reinforced American values and aspirations while encouraging picture-taking as an essential aspect of leisure, travel, and family.”

“The Coloramas taught us not only what to photograph, but also how to see the world as though it were a photograph,” Nordstrom also said. “They served to manifest and visualize values that even then were seen as nostalgic and in jeopardy, salvageable only through the time-defying alchemy of Kodak cameras and film.” The Grand Central exhibit also has video footage of the photographers with their work, sharing stories of how they shot the photographs and their unveiling.

The exhibit, which began on July 28, will be on display in New York’s Grand Central Terminal until November 1, 2012. To learn more visit MTA.info.

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Carolyn Hsu
Carolyn Hsu is the New York Correspondent for JustLuxe and has been beauty, fashion, and travel editor at The Daily Obsession and a freelance writer...

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