While the collection of photographs at the George Eastman House International Museum of Photog-raphy and Film is impressive — there are more than 400,000 pictures and negatives — it’s the mu-seum’s mystique and versatility that keep people coming back.
George Eastman, the founder of Eastman Kodak Co., was one of the most renowned philanthro-pists in history. (Not bad for someone who dropped out of school at age 14 to support his family.) Life, however, was not picture-perfect for the man credited with making photography accessible to the masses. On March 14, 1932, at age 77, Eastman committed suicide, leaving behind a note: “To my friends, my work is done. Why wait?”
His suicide letter is one of many nonphotographic elements that make this museum extraordinary. The 530-seat Dryden Theatre is another. To date, more than 13,000 films have been shown here.
“The films the theater shows are thought-provoking and original,” says museum visitor Jennifer Sally. “We would never, ever have the chance to see the films that come from other countries if it weren’t for the Dryden.”
The museum’s current exhibits are equally thought-provoking: Reflections from the Heart: Photo-graphs by David Seymour, an exhibit that includes images of postwar Europe; DARFUR/DARFUR, a mul-timedia show focusing on the genocidal conflict in Sudan; and Know War, images of war from 1855 to the present, are all on display through April 22. Ghosts in the Landscape: Vietnam Revisited, photo-graphs by ex-combat Marine Craig J. Barber, will be displayed through May 6.