A History of Photography

July 9–October 23, 2016, History of Photography Gallery

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    Caption: 

    Edward Burtynsky (Canadian, b. 1955). Shipbreaking #12, Chittagong, Bangladesh 2000, 2000/2002. From the series Shipbreaking. Chromogenic development print. George Eastman Museum, gift of the photographer. © Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto / Howard Greenberg Gallery and Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, New York

The George Eastman Museum 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.

The museum's History of Photography Gallery is dedicated to rotating installations that demonstrate photography’s historical trajectory through photographs and cameras drawn from the collection. The selection of photographs changes approximately three times a year, continually refreshing the experience of visiting the Eastman Museum and offering regular opportunities to display the museum’s treasures.

This rotation was curated by ​Olivia Arnone, Graduate Program Manager for the Photographic Preservation and Collection Management Master of Arts program offered by the museum in partnership with the University of Rochester. Drawn from a variety of genres and styles, this selection of objects investigates how photographs, in the various contexts in which they were produced and used, have influenced our perceptions of people, events, and the landscape throughout history.

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