The George Eastman Museum was named after the creator of the Kodak company. Eastman was a pioneer in film and photography, and the museum fittingly claims to be the world’s first focused solely on photography.
“Early travel photography was going to be seen by people who weren’t able to travel themselves,” 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 exhibition is to pull gems from the museum’s collection that don’t typically get shown. Of the 450,000 total items in the photography department, she said, “some of these photographs don’t get to see the light of day. There are photographs by Ansel Adams that are more surprising, and this gives you an opportunity to look at other things that a photographer did than just what they’re famous for.”
She added, “Tourist sites weren’t so prescriptive back then. In the early days, you wouldn’t have your own camera, so the person who is making the image is a professional photographer, and you’re purchasing that image 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.