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George Eastman

Hess mentioned in In digital remembrance: vernacular memory and the rhetorical construction of web memorials that Atwater and Herndon found, ‘physical location of each museum conveys a powerful message.’

For this week’s illustration, I decided to go see George Eastman’s memorial. Because George Eastman was such an innovative and influential entrepreneur (the founder of Kodak) this memorial was created. It is strategically located near the entrance of Kodak Park, which illustrates the aforementioned quote from Hess’s article. He is being remembered for all that he created.

There is a plaque on the right side before taking the stairs down to the memorial. The plaque is a description and brief explanation of the memorial. It was interesting to see this plaque is the only part of the memorial that actually includes George Eastman’s face.

The plaque explains the woman is raising a flame of aspiration and on the other side, a male figure crouching represents Eastman’s photography work. Rather than sad memorial to grief and heal, this memorial remembers Eastman’s success and may be future inspiration to those who visit it. The memorial is mainly constructed of marble, showing that this is a more expensive elaborate site.

This site also shows that the city of Rochester values all of George Eastman’s contributions. Because Kodak has declined so much as a company, the memorial’s meaning may be slightly different. What do you think?




You make a good point, Larissa. In time, the meanings of a memorial can change. At the time of their erection they may have had a very specific and obvious reason for being there, but over time, that can change. This site, I believe, will serve meaning to rochester, but maybe mean something different for visitors who haven’t experienced the history first hand and only know if the decline of Kodak.


I didn’t grow up in the Rochester area, yet despite that, even I have a strong sense of the impact that Kodak had. Kodak represented well-paying factory jobs, prosperity, security, etc. And even as it declines dramatically, I think Eastman still stands for that time in Rochester’s history. In some ways, the decline is devastating and sad, but perhaps the memorial will still represent the same ideals of prosperity and innovation.


I do think this is interesting as Kodak fades away. Rather than being the company that put Roc City on the map, Kodak has a reputation now for putting employees out of work and mismanaging its assets into bankruptcy. It’s almost sad to look into the past like this and remember that once Kodak was truly awesome and deserving of something like this. Of course, Georgie Boy himself doesn’t deserve any shame, and a testament to his accomplishments is absolutely deserving.


In Biesecker’s article, she mentions how societies reconstruct their past. I think George Eastman was one of the most important men of Rochester’s history. You have an interesting perspective about the memorial’s meaning.


Good post. I think memorials are important because they preserve the memory, they give meaning and reinforce an identity of a given community.


George Eastman definitely had a great influence on the Rochester community. However, with the company going hitting rock bottom and cutting jobs left and right, his legacy was significantly diminished. Even though the plaque next to the monument was the only portion of his face, it may be the result of the company’s downfall.


Larissa, I think you make an excellent point first, about how this monument is strategically placed on its site which helps it to convey a powerful message, and second, your point about with the drastic decline of Kodak does this change the meaning behind this site? I think it does have a different meaning now, and I never would have thought to think critically at sites to wonder if maybe they too have changed over time to the community. Excellent job.


I like the points that you made here about the decline of Kodak and the potential for the meaning associated with this memorial to decline as well. I think that although this is a possibility, Eastman himself has such as great reputation in Rochester with Kodak and the George Eastman House that the memorial will always have significance.


I instantly looked at this post because this monument is so unique in appearance. It’s much more abstract than a representative statue of Eastman would have been. It made me consider how much that influences how the monument makes us think about Kodak in light of its decline as well. Even if the meaning the name Kodak holds for people may vary, they all could interpret this even more uniquely if they approached it without reading the plaque or being familiar with the area. It provokes a lot of thought.

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