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Colorama: The World's Largest Photographs [Hardcover]

Peggy Roalf , Alison Nordstrom
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 15, 2005 1931788448 978-1931788441 First Edition
Description: "A Small Book of Big Pictures" 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.

Editorial Reviews


"All told there were 565 Coloramas: CinemaScopic landscapes crowded with camera-toting vacationers; middle-class families at play in very long living rooms; attractive couples gamboling through endlessly horizontal flower beds--this was the idealized, middle-class wholesomeness of a million hokey ads, familiar but now on a scale previously reserved for conquest and Jesus. Even as reproduced on these pages, at 1/99th its original size, Colorama's scope is evident." -- Bruce Handy -- Vanity Fair

"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. The message of national well-being and wholesomeness presented in the Coloramas - with images by some of the most notable photographers of the time - was seen by half a million people per day until the 1994 renovation of Grand Central ended the program." --HotShoe International

"...a fascinating insight into all-American imagery - baseball games, swimming the creek, partying teens - with, naturally, someone on hand to capture the moment with a Kodak product." --Wallpaper

"In Colorama: a Collection of the World's Largest Photographs the moms are coiffed and minty-fresh; the men are preppy alpha males in plimsolls and trim pullovers. It's a gathering of perfect Kodak kitsch." -- Alastair Sooke --Daily Telegraph

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Aperture; First Edition edition (June 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931788448
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931788441
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 5.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,101,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity August 3, 2005
By T. Wild
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.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful photography, good critical essays November 16, 2004
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.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Colorful cliches February 3, 2006
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgia Revisited October 9, 2005
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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