Eastman House

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This is the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY.  I shot this a while back when I was working on a scanning project for them.  The House and adjoining buildings are home to the International Museum of Photography and Film.  If you every find yourself in the Rochester area, this would be an excellent stop especially for those interested in the history of photography.  George Eastman founded Kodak and for years his company dominated the photographic industry.

George was not a fan of outsourcing and he wanted to insure that every component of their cameras, film and chemicals were manufactured by Kodak.  The photo below shows an early Kodak lens with red and yellow filters that fit over it.  I put a US penny in the photo to give an indication of the size.  The lens has 4 aperture positions marked 1, 2, 3, and 4 and shutter speeds of T (time), B (bulb), 25 (1/25 sec) and 50 (1/50 sec).  The lens and filters are on loan from my nephew Mike.  Thanks mike.

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24 thoughts on “Eastman House

    1. oneowner Post author

      I don’t know if anyone who hasn’t lived in the Rochester area would ever appreciate the impact the company has made not only to photography but to Eastman’s philanthropy to the region. We’ll never see it again I’m afraid.

      Reply
    1. oneowner Post author

      Thanks, Monte. Eastman wanted to maintain a high quality level. His philosophy lasted for many years after his death. Unfortunately, leadership in the last 25 years has led to a loss of leadership in digital photography and eventual bankruptcy.

      Reply
  1. disperser

    The Kodak reflex camera (and a few accessories) were my first camera. It took 126 film cartridges (no rolls), had cube flash, and took decent photos (of course I’m comparing photos from when I was barely interested beyond clicking the shutter release to now).

    I still have it, it still works, and still looks very nice.

    Reply
    1. oneowner Post author

      I have a Yashica 126 camera that I originally bought for my father and have since inherited. It took great photos, still looks new but not having used it in a very long time I’m not sure of its working condition. I hope to do a post on some of these old cameras cluttering up the house.

      Reply
  2. Howard Grill

    Things seemed a bit simpler back then. Hard to believe they went from this to bankrupt If memory serves me correctly, I believe it was even the researchers at Kodak who were actually the first to assemble a digital camera some years back. Not many pixels relatively speaking!

    Reply
    1. oneowner Post author

      Yes, Kodak invented digital photography and they were the first to bring it to market. That’s the tragedy of Kodak, I don’t think they realized the potential of what they had made.

      Reply
      1. disperser

        Happens to a lot of companies . . . they fear they would cannibalize their main business (in this case, film), but failed to take into account that if they didn’t, others would anyway.

        Steve Job was a jerk, but he saw that clearly when he undermined the highly successful i-Pod to add the same functionality on the iPhone. A no-brainer now, but at the time it was a big risk.

      2. oneowner Post author

        Steve Job’s real genius was in marketing. To be honest, I don’t understand the cult status he and his company enjoyed. He stole everything he claims to have invented.

      3. disperser

        And Gates pressured/threatened competitors, and so on.

        I had a 20 years foray into running a business . . . I walked away from it with the firm conviction a very high percentage of successful businesses become so only by foregoing honesty, honor, and integrity.

        If one is sufficiently greedy and unscrupulous, one is assured great success, accolades, and to eventually be seen as a visionary.

      4. disperser

        Perhaps one should look at all successful people with suspicion . . . and definitely all politicians.

        It’s obscene how much their personal worth increases while in office . . . all while on a pretty good, but not that good, salary.

        . . . someone should look into that . . . I’ll write my congressman and senators.

  3. LensScaper

    A very handsome building Ken. I still have an old folding Kodak camera that I recall my father using in my childhood. I wish he had used filters – because every image has a white sky to it.

    Reply
    1. oneowner Post author

      Thanks, Andy. I think the filters faded with age as they are almost clear now. But I’m sure they would have helped with adding some depth to the sky. They may have been extra cost items, too, so they could be fairly rare.

      Reply
  4. Jimi Jones

    What a great place to visit and nicely photographed, Ken. Who didn’t own a Kodak at some point in time? 🙂 They really did dominate for a very long time.

    I like the look of the old lens and filters also.

    Reply
  5. Paul

    It’s amazing to me how they were once a giant, now relegated to seeming obscurity. Who could forget that familiar yellow box and the “religious wars” between uses of Kodak film vs. Fuji film. 🙂 I was always a Fuji color film guy, Kodak B&W/Ilford.

    Reply
    1. oneowner Post author

      When Kodak was the film manufacturing giant, it was difficult to find Fuji film in stores other than camera stores and it was quite expensive. I bought my Fuji film from one of the big camera stores in NYC. Kodak was very generous to the folks that sold their products and especially those who were lucky to work for them, though they don’t consider themselves lucky now.

      Reply

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