Herbert J. Archer

Herbert J. Archer (1914-1986) was master photographer for the Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, New York. His massive Coloramas showcased backdrops of the great outdoors and American life, specifically in summer camps and national parks around upstate New York and New England; mountains in Rio De Janiero, Brazil; hunting scenes; and military ceremonies and parades. Archer’s photographic subjects featured families from the East Coast and cowboys of the American West. One family photo in Portland Head Light, Maine, dated August 1954, was the first full-scene Colorama on one piece of film. Another notable photograph depicted golfers at the Winged Foot Country Club in Mamaroneck, New York, with television personality Ed Sullivan announcing the Fifty-ninth U.S. Open Golf Tournament. Coloramas, considered the largest photographs in the world, were advertisements made by the Kodak Company that portrayed an idealized version of America. They were exhibited at Grand Central Terminal in New York City from 1950 to 1990. Kodak’s main objective was to present Americans celebrating life through vistas and activities such as skiing, camping, and traveling.

Born in Auburn, New York, Archer was raised in Irondequoit, a suburb of Rochester. He was married to Harriet De LaVergne, won an award at a photographic exhibition in November 1948, and was active in the Kodak commercial studios in their photo illustrations department from the 1950s to 1970s. During his career at Kodak, he collaborated with photographers Don Marvin, Stewart Comfort, George Waters, Ralph Amdursky, Henry (Hank) Mayer, and Peter Gales. Archer served as juror for exhibitons at the Rochester Institute of Technology Camera Club, and was himself a member of the Eastman Kodak Camera Club, the American Society of Photographers, and Professional Photographers of America.

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