I really need a photomurals tag at this point. The Kodak Colorama billboard was installed in the Great Hall of Grand Central Station from 1950 until around 1990, when the station began a long-overdue restoration.

Anyway, 18x60 foot backlit, color transparencies, "the biggest photographs in the world," one a month for forty freakin' years. It's like if Norman Rockwell had a son named Jeff Wall who went into advertising.

According to the Kodak Colorama mini-site, company executives Adolph Stuber and Waldo Potter originally thought to recreate "Kodak's success with projecting color slides to a staggering size for the 1939 World's Fair," but the Great Hall's sunlight forced them to go the backlit route.


Just as regular photomurals were first printed in wallpaper-like strips, the Colorama transparencies were made of 18-inch [and later 36-in] rolls pieced together witn tape.

Colorama was designed to promote "a critical cause -- photography for photography's sake." Which means something different to a company that sells cameras and film. The majority of the Colorama pictures were by Kodak staff photographers, who inserted amateur photographers in glorious landscapes.

But not all. There are several Coloramas over the years by Ansel Adams, including the August 1954 panorama of Bryce Canyon, Utah up top. The 1967 Earthrise image above is the only black & white Colorama photo. Apparently, it had been covered a lot immediately after NASA received the transmission from the Lunar Orbiter, and the Colorama appearance kind of leveraged that familiarity.


Contrast that, though, with the 1969 Apollo 11 images, where Kodak engineers rushed to print NASA's just-released negatives from the moon landing, and ended up scooping Time, Newsweek and Life, to the benefit of the "awed crowds."

The Kodak Colorama []
Last summer, Kodak donated the Colorama Archive to Eastman House []

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

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about this archive

Posts from May 2016, in reverse chronological order

Older: April 2016

recent projects, &c.

Chop Shop
curated by Magda Sawon
1-7 March 2016

eBay Test Listings
Mar – Dec 2015
about | proposte monocrome, rose

It Narratives, incl.
Shanzhai Gursky & Destroyed Richter
Franklin Street Works, Stamford
Sept 5 - Nov 9, 2014
about | link

TheRealHennessy Tweets Paintings, 2014 -

Standard Operating Procedure
about | buy now, 284pp, $15.99

CZRPYR2: The Illustrated Appendix
Canal Zone Richard Prince
YES RASTA 2:The Appeals Court
Decision, plus the Court's
Complete Illustrated Appendix (2013)
about | buy now, 142pp, $12.99

"Exhibition Space"
Mar 20 - May 8 @apexart, NYC

HELP/LESS Curated by Chris Habib
Printed Matter, NYC
Summer 2012
panel &c.

Destroyed Richter Paintings, 2012-
background | making of
"Richteriana," Postmasters Gallery, NYC

Canal Zone Richard
Selected Court Documents
from Cariou v. Prince (2011)
about | buy now, 376pp, $17.99