[Studio NY] Event Preview: A Short History of Photography

May 24th, 2012
By Lidija Butkovi? | Edited by Jerry Kann

New York, NY — From the middle of the 19th century down to the present day, photography has been used to record everything from the most insignificant events of private life to crucial historical moments; from landscapes to cityscapes; from the most magnificent happenings of the real world to the most bizarre aspects of the paranormal.

During his 18-year tenure as Ehrenkranz Director of the International Center of Photography, Willis E. “Buzz” Hartshorn has overseen substantial growth of the Center’s private collection. He has played the major role in its development, and under his leadership this collection has more than doubled in size.

To pay tribute to Mr. Hartshorn, who is departing as director this year, ICP is presenting 100 unique photographs in an exhibition entitled “A Short History of Photography.” This selection, made by the Center’s Chief Curator Brian Wallis, includes beloved classics as well as little-known works by anonymous photographers. One of the hallmarks of the collection is a focus on alternative histories of photography, including reviews of marginalized social practices of some photographers as well as popular and “non-art” approaches to the medium. Eugène Atget, W. Eugene Smith, Cindy Sherman, Walker Evans, and André Kertész are among the photographers featured in this wide-ranging exhibition.

The exhibition’s title is taken from German critic Walter Benjamin’s classic 1931 essay of the same name, an incisive investigation of the aesthetics and practical uses of photographic images.

Visitors may view original prints, peruse archival documents, or consult the Collection’s digital catalogue. Much of the Collection is also accessible online via eMuseum, a searchable database of the Collection (see www.icp.org), and by way of the Collection’s blog, “Fans in a Flashbulb” (fansinaflashbulb.wordpress.com).

The exhibition will be on view from May 18th through September 2nd, 2012.

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