During the lockdown, travel photography aroused our jealousy, longing and admiration. For travelers in the 19th century, photographs were important in another way: “You may have gone to that place, but you could not take a picture of it, so you buy one to show people at home,” says Jamie Allen, an associate. curator at the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York.
An upcoming exhibition looks at the museum’s extensive collection of travel and tourism images over the years. Lilyan Jones is the project catalog for the Alden Scott Boyer Collection at the Eastman Museum. In her work with the museum’s photo collection, she reviews over 13,000 objects donated to the museum, some of which date from the beginning of photography to the 1950s.
“I chose this theme because when we started working on this, we got stuck inside. “I thought it would be nice to look at pictures from all over the world,” Jones told BuzzFeed News. “There are many early views of Egypt, people climbing the pyramids; There are also early views on India and Japan and even Niagara Falls. ”
George Eastman Museum was named after the creator of the Kodak company. Eastman was a pioneer in film and photography, and the museum aptly claims to be the world’s first focused solely on photography.
“Early travel photography would be seen by people who could not travel on their own,” Allen said. “Now that travel has opened up, you can access more places and see more things. Our definition of travel photography has changed. ”
Allen said the goal of the exhibit is to draw gems from the museum’s collection that are not usually displayed. Of the 450,000 articles in the photography department, she said: “some of these photographs must not see the light of day. There are photographs of Ansel Adams that are more surprising, and this gives you the opportunity to look at other things that a photographer did than they are known for. ”
She added: “Tourist websites were not so prescriptive then. For the first few days, you would not have your own camera, so the person making the picture is a professional photographer, and you buy that picture from them or from a store. ”
Here we looked at some of our favorites from this show, which include photographs from over 100 years ago.