In lockdown, travel photography has fueled our envy, longing, and admiration. For visitors going back to the 1800s, photos matter in a different way: “You may have been to the place, but you couldn’t take a picture of it, so you buy one to show everyone home,” said Jamie Allen, an associate curator at the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York.
An upcoming exhibition examines the museum’s extensive collection of travel and tourism images over the years. Lilyan Jones is the project cataloger for the Alden Scott Boyer Collection at the Eastman Museum. Working with the museum’s photography collection, she looks through more than 13,000 items that have been given to the museum, some of which date from the early years of photography to the 1950s.
“I chose this theme because by the time I started working on it, we were stuck inside. I thought it would be great to see pictures from all over the world,” Jones told BuzzFeed News. “There are many early views of the Egyptians who climbed the pyramids; There are also original scenes of India, Japan and even Niagara Falls. ”
George Eastman Museum named after the creator of the company Kodak. Eastman was a pioneer in film and photography, and the museum claims to be the first in the world to focus solely on photography.
“People who cannot afford to travel on their own will see travel photography first,” says Allen. “Now that tourism has opened up, you can visit more places and see more things. Our definition of travel photography has changed”.
Allen said the goal of the exhibition was to attract gems from the museum’s collection that are not normally on display. Of the 450,000 total entries in the photography department, she says, “some of these photos can’t see the light of day. There are Ansel Adams photos that are even more surprising, and this gives you the opportunity to see other things a photographer has done than just what they are famous for. “
She added, “Tourist sites back then were not so regulated. In the early days, you won’t have your own camera, so the person who created the image is a professional photographer and you’re buying the image from them or from a store. “
Here, we’ve reviewed some of our favorites from the show, including photos from over 100 years ago.