A History of Photography

From May 9, 2014 through September 28, 2014 in History of Photography Gallery

Jean-Baptiste Sabatier-Blot

Jean-Baptiste Sabatier-Blot (French, 1801–1881). Louise-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, 1844. Daguerreotype. George Eastman House. Gift of Eastman Kodak Company, Ex-collection Gabriel Cromer. On view beginning May 9.

The George Eastman House photography collection is among the best and most comprehensive in the world. With holdings that include objects ranging in date from the announcement of the medium’s invention in 1839 to the present day, the collection represents the full history of photography. Works by renowned masters of the medium exist side-by-side with vernacular and scientific photographs. The collection also includes all applications of the medium, from artistic pursuit to commercial enterprise and from amateur pastime to documentary record, as well as all types of photographic processes, from daguerreotypes to digital prints.

Beginning in May 2014, the museum will dedicate the North Gallery to rotating installations that demonstrate photography’s historical trajectory through photographs and cameras drawn from the collection. The selection will change three times a year, continually refreshing the experience of visiting Eastman House and offering regular opportunities to display the museum’s treasures.

The first installation, selected by Lisa Hostetler, curator-in-charge of the Department of Photography, will open on May 9. It traces photography’s complex relationship to both art and information as the medium developed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. By demonstrating the technological and aesthetic choices photographers have made for over a century and a half, the photographs in this installation illustrate the tremendous flexibility of the medium. At the same time, the iconic nature of many of the images suggests the indelible impact photography has had on our understanding of human vision and creativity.

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