U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | TruthBeauty at Eastman House

TruthBeauty at Eastman House

So I made it yesterday (Wednesday) To George Eastman House (via Jet Blue, which stole the very small half-bottle of coke I'd hidden in my tote bag, and gave inflight directions in a rapid-fire mumble NOBODY could understand, but were otherwise exemplary -- even got us back to NYC 15 minutes ahead of schedule)....

The TruthBeauty show is on at Eastman House until or through May 31st. (Check the website for hours, but as I recall open late Thursday, otherwise 9 to 5 weekdays & Saturday). ANYONE who can POSSIBLY (call in dead, leave your house on fire, pawn the kids, WHATEVER) should (except for swine flu) GO. The thrill, or part of it, was seeing prints we know only from the history books (small & in printer's ink) in the ORIGINAL -- on real PAPER, so close you can rub your nose on the glass, or for the really large ones (for instance a Heinrich Kuehn gum print in deep crimson-sepia on rough paper, part of an entire wall of Kuehns) from close, then 6 feet away) as well as those we never heard of or saw before, some familiar from the book (2 copies out on a table in the gallery, for comparisons or whatever, tho none left for sale) but most either from the show or the collection... Each a joy...

Plus anywhere you turned, there was something delicious, including the library, with more photo magazines on display than I knew still existed, and books, indexed or not yet, as could consume a day or a week just to check the titles.

I was in fact so transfixed I couldn't tear myself away until I'd just missed my planned bus (schedule kindly mapped out courtesy of the front desk) to connect with another bus for the airport, but the next one came soon after & I made the plane home: Rochester seems to be a great bus town, by the way -- also with something I'd never seen before: A shelf thingy that slides out from under the front bumper that you can put your bike on -- so you can take your bike to and/or from the bus !! (I note also that the 2 buses back to the airport cost a total of $2. The taxi ride out FROM the airport in the morning cost $30.)

Among other unadvertised extras was a small wall display of black & white prints by Cecilia Arbaleda, an American born in Columbia (1946) I'd never heard of, but whose delicate "straight" b&w silver gelatin prints of "ordinary" things, were exquisite.

Not to mention meeting Mark Osterman, co-publisher with his wife France Scully of "The Collodion Journal," who teaches workshops at Eastman House in such matters (another polymath) as the one he was engaged in that day -- in detecting, well, call it after-the-fact "doctoring" of old photographs, largely by examining the "evidence." He stopped by to chat about the "perils of publishing" (like, who knew?), and, better yet, could answer questions. For instance, when the medium is "gum platinum" (as many were), which goes first, the gum or the platinum? It seems the gum (in black) is laid over the platinum print, to give it (as indeed it did) an extra deep hit of glowing black.

Other staff were also beyond kind... I felt treated like royalty.... But above all (even above the cafe, which has a chocolate chip cookie like homemade, and prices half what the &^%*%$#@*& airport "cafe" charges) these "pictorial" prints, mostly (if not all) from the Eastman collection, tho many of them not in the book, were sublime, seeing them in the "ding an sich" was a thrill beyond words.