In 1948 the concept of the Colorama
by Kodak developed. When photographer Ansel Adams was asked to participate in the Kodak Colorama, it was an opportunity to participate in a large scale colour print, of mammoth proportions. Adams
recalls the experience as "the Coloramas became something of a landmark … and I happily made quite a number of them. They were aesthetically inconsequential but technically
Adams said of his photos... "they
presented the real world with commercial motivation.... and Kodak
paid him for doing what he enjoyed - taking photographs in the landscape.
The Colorama measured 18 feet high by 60 feet long and was made up of twenty inch wide strips taped together and exhibited in Central Station in New York. It was intended to promote photography to the general public, and, commercially, Kodak products. The Coloramas were
originally intended to provide a dramatic series of pictures transparencies printed from
an unusual format. Over the duration, the pictures were taken in a variety of ways, experimenting with alternate formats of photography, using several techniques - enlarging from the single negative
with extreme accuracy, overlapping several negatives, exploring the use of large format, panoramic and banquet cameras.
Ansel Adams commented...
"the severe proportions of the format made it rather difficult to find appropriate
subjects". Adams even found it necessary to invent his own apparatus capable of spanning across the horizontal without displacing the foreground and capturing the necessary image on two overlapping 8 inches by 10 inches
film. The format of these wide-angle
Coloramas, in the tradition of painting, were perhaps inspired by the
Great Pictures and Panoramas paintings of the 19th century.