The Photograph Collection: An Introduction at the George Eastman House

ROCHESTER, NY – “The Photograph Collection: An Introduction” feature some of the star objects and photographers from the George Eastman House photography collection. This newly mounted and changing exhibition will greet visitors to the world’s oldest museum of photography.

The new installation includes landscapes by Ansel Adams, advertising work by Edward Steichen, and color celebrity portraits by Nickolas Muray. (Elizabeth Taylor by Nickolas Muray ca. 1950. pictured left)

The exhibition is divided into the categories of The Photograph in Photojournalism; The Daguerreotype versus the Salted Paper Print; The Photographic Portrait; The Photographic Portrait as Art; and Photography in the Present. The display serves as an introduction to important photographers and photographs in the George Eastman House collection. The featured images were chosen from the photography collection of 400,000 photographs, which represents 9,000 photographers.

“The Photograph Collection: An Introduction” provides a rare opportunity to see unique photographic processes, including a daguerreotype with applied color, one of the earliest examples of photojournalism. George Eastman House holds one of the largest and most diverse collections of photography in the world. The collection demonstrates the many forms, meanings, and uses photography has taken in its nearly 200-year history.

“Technically, a photograph is simply the record of the effects of light on a light sensitive material. Culturally, however, it embraces fluctuating meanings that depend on its use,” said Jamie M. Allen, curatorial associate in the Eastman House’s Department of Photograph, who curated the exhibition. “An image that was created as an advertisement can become an art object; a family memory can be used and understood as an illustration of the past.”

“The invention of photography greatly changed how the world could be known,” Allen explained. “Photographs provide a way for viewers to experience what they have not seen first-hand. They serve as personal memories, but also constitute the collective knowledge of cultures both present and past. The remarkable collection at George Eastman House offers many opportunities to explore and enjoy the complexities of the photograph and its times.”

“The Photograph Collection: An Introduction” serves as an introduction for visitors touring the many galleries of photography exhibitions at Eastman House, which also feature work from the permanent collection. Currently on view in the changing gallery spaces are more than 50 collection images taken in Africa, part of a three-exhibition series this summer titled “AFRICAS.”

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