5 Books About George Eastman’s Legacy: The Guy That Made Cameras Cool

Though you never heard of George Eastman before, you’ve had near constant contact with his legacy. Here are five books about his life and contributions.

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You probably haven’t heard the name George Eastman before. And chances are you haven’t heard of the Eastman Kodak Company either. Despite the obscurity of time, you’ve had near constant contact with his legacy. Photographs and film are everywhere today. Once physical copies that could be rolled up and traded around, they now flicker on computer and cellphone screens. But all that wouldn’t have been possible without the innovations made by George Eastman, the entrepreneur who popularized photographs and film during the late nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century.



Think of all the wonders on Netflix, YouTube, and HBO. Think of the blockbuster movies that have crowded your daydreams. Think of all the pictures you’ve taken. You have Eastman to thank for paving the path toward this present-day golden age of visual content.

To celebrate his 167th birthday, here are five books about George Eastman and his extraordinary contributions.




George Eastman: A Biography, by Elizabeth Brayer

If you’re looking to get the fullest intake of everything George Eastman, there’s no better way than by reading Elizabeth Brayer’s biography, which delves into each segment of his life: his innovations in photography and film, his philanthropic pursuits, and the life he led behind the focusing cloth.

Known for being quite private when it came to media attention and donations, according to Amazon, Brayer’s book attempts to shed a broad light over George Eastman. For a man in love with cameras, he preferred not to be in front of one.




Camera: A History of Photography from Daguerreotype to Digital, By Todd Gustavson and George Eastman House

Nowadays, we snap pictures on our phones with proficiency and frequency that rivals natural habits like eating, sleeping, and brushing our teeth. But we rarely find ourselves wondering how this reality came to be.

This book, written in collaboration with the George Eastman House, presents the 200 year history of cameras and film, from their quaint beginnings to the modern digitized photos and videos that we click around on Instagram and TikTok. If you’re looking to impress someone with your camera history or simply gain a deeper perspective and appreciation for the marvel of photography, this book is a must-read.




Is This Something George Eastman Would Have Done? By Paul Snyder

We’ve all heard the phrase, “all good things come to an end.” Unfortunately, that came to fruition for the corporate legacy George Eastman dedicated himself to. This book explores the downfall of the Eastman Kodak Company, a once prosperous driver of photographic technology reduced to bankruptcy in 2012, according to Amazon. For anyone working in an innovation-driven industry, this book is sure to have insights that will prevent your company from slipping off the road of progress. After all, that phrase mentioned above doesn’t have to be reality.




The Art of Film Projection: A Beginner’s Guide, by Paulo Cherchi Usai, Catherine Surowiec, et al.

Delving into the wonders of film and photography, this book wouldn’t be possible without the work George Eastman did. For anyone wanting to get into the fields of photography and camera work, this book will provide you with both the historic and the technical background of cameras. With images constantly flashing in our eyes today, this book is sure to provide you with a greater handling of the technologies that Eastman helped to develop.



Colorama, by the George Eastman Museum

This book is stuffed with 200 pages of high-quality images that were once the cutting edge of photography. With the previous mentions giving you the specifics of George Eastman’s contributions to photography and film, this volume allows you to experience first hand the images that moved the technology forward and brought us into this current age of visual splendor.


Featured Image Via IndustryWeek