A couple of weeks ago we took a trip down to Rochester to visit The George Eastman House. I was especially interested to see the exhibit called bloom!, which featured some of Edward Steichen’s experimental colour work. As the title of the exhibit suggests, the photos included in this show had a botanical focus, many an interesting blend of botanical art and photographic portraiture. It was a stunning exhibit, and I really wish there had been a catalogue accompanying it. When I go to an exhibition I like to take in the show, go away and think about it for a while, and then return to the images. If the exhibition is in a different city than the one I live in a return journey is often out of the question, and this is where I find a catalogue to be particularly useful. The pictures in this exhibit of Dana Steichen (Edward’s second wife, I believe) were especially beautiful, and there is one in particular that I keep thinking about — a very ethereal-looking portrait of Dana holding a brilliant red apple, which, of course, has symbolic connotations, but also an aesthetically stunning compositional choice given the greenish tones in the rest of the photograph. Simply gorgeous!
Edward Steichen, Heavy Lillies (c.1935)
George Eastman House Collections
The other thing that really left an impression on me was seeing George Eastman’s suicide note. It had a hauntingly simple message: “Dear Friends, My work is done. Why wait?” It gave me shivers to see this written in his own handwriting.