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Selections from the Collection

September 30, 2023–Ongoing, Collection Gallery

As the George Eastman Museum approaches and celebrates its 75th anniversary, we are featuring a group of exhibitions that highlight a wide range of holdings from the museum’s collection. With this selection of objects in the Collection Gallery, we continue our broad survey of works to draw parallels and connections between photography, history, and culture. The objects chosen for this exhibition will chart a course through this history, identifying notable movements and trends while giving context to a breadth of photographic practices, technologies, communities, and traditions.

In this exhibition, direct comparisons are made between early photographic print processes, such as the daguerreotypes produced by Southworth & Hawes in the United States and the salted paper prints of Hill & Adamson in Scotland. These objects showcase the resources and technologies that were present at the time of their making, as well as the competing interests that propelled their development in the 19th century. Other pairings in this exhibition examine the development of photographic styles and aesthetics, each a response to specific cultural or artistic trends that emerged throughout the 20th century: Pictorialism, Group f/64, photojournalism and reportage, abstraction and experimentation, and the influence of postmodern practices in contemporary art.

The response to these photographic traditions has been varied and complex, and not without critical discourse and debate. These evolutions, however, have increased access to photographic tools and technologies while expanding our understanding of photography and its wider cultural implications. The history of photography has grown to encompass a multitude of voices and diverse perspectives, each of them bringing forth new challenges and provocative assessments of that which came before.

This selection includes works by Julia Margaret Cameron, Alfred Stieglitz, László Moholy-Nagy, Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks, Robert Frank, Imogen Cunningham, Diane Arbus, Andy Warhol, Nan Goldin, and many others. Certain photographs in the exhibition will be alternated over the course of the next year, when the exhibition will coincide with the George Eastman Museum’s 75th Anniversary exhibition in the main galleries.

About the Collection 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 Collection 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 regularly, and each rotation offers new opportunities to engage with the museum's treasures.

The Collection Gallery is sponsored in part by ESL Federal Credit Union.

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

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  • Wall text and images are available to view by clicking the teal dots next to the works. To see the work in greater detail, simply click on the image for it to expand to full screen.