|Horses at Heart’s Delight Farm pose for the camera|
|Kodak advertisement, 1889|
|A very bad digital version of a scan of a |
microfilmed edition of Godey’s Magazine.
The extensive technical displays at the 1898 exhibition, which demonstrated the effects of various papers and developers on photographic prints, suggest that although Kodak made it easy for anyone to take snapshots, there were still plenty of people who were interested in exploring the finer points of photography. Like William Miner, they experimented with various ways of manipulating negatives and prints to get the artistic effects they sought.
|Electricity Building, showing competing|
exhibits by Westinghouse and General Electric
The Chicago World’s Fair was also the first to use photography for promotional purposes. In addition to the images produced by official photographers Charles Arnold and William Henry Jackson, other entrepreneurs were licensed to publish their own photos of the fair. Add to that the many individual visitors who brought their own Kodaks, and the fair must have been one of the most thoroughly documented events in the world up to that point.
William Miner’s contribution to the Eastman exhibit, which brought together the World’s Fair, electricity, and photography, seems to perfectly embody the spirit of the 1890s. The way that it combines up-to-date technology with aesthetics is also typical of William Miner, who consistently strove to unite the useful and the beautiful.
For more on the Eastman Photographic Exhibition, see this article from The Photo-Beacon (March 1898), which includes some reproductions of photos in the show (though not William’s, unfortunately).
P.S. Did you know that if you are a resident of New York State you are eligible to obtain a New York Public Library card, and that with the card you can access many online databases? This how I found the article in Godey’s Magazine, which is in the American Periodicals (1740-1940) database.