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A History of Photography

October 26, 2019–June 16, 2020, History of Photography Gallery

For centuries, people have immigrated to the United States and recorded their perspectives on the unfamiliar country. This rotation is a brief chronological presentation of selected photographs created by immigrants to this country, many of whom became naturalized citizens. Photographers such as Napoleon Sarony (American, b. Canada, 1821–1896) and José Maria Mora (American, b. Cuba, 1849–1926) dedicated their careers to creating portraits of notable Americans, including Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Grover Cleveland. Others documented the American landscape at key moments. Arnold Genthe (American, b. Germany, 1869–1942) recorded the chaotic aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and Andreas Feininger (American, b. France, 1906–1999) photographed the bright lights and hectic environment of Times Square in the 1940s. In the 21st century, photographers such as Vietnam-born Binh Danh (b. 1977) turned their lenses on the regions of the world from which they emigrated, while others, like Marco Breuer (German, b. 1966), have maintained their native citizenship while living and working in the United States.

Curated by Meghan L. Jordan, curatorial assistant, with Jamie M. Allen, Stephen B. and Janice G. Ashley Associate Curator, this installation highlights the fresh vision and pictorial insight brought to America by newcomers.

Virtual Exhibition

About the History of Photography Gallery

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 twice a year, and each rotation offers new opportunities to engage with the museum's treasures.

For videos and a glossary of the photographic processes, visit eastman.org/processglossary.