Established as an independent curatorial department in 1992, the Metropolitan Museum's Department of Photographs houses a collection of more than twenty-five thousand works spanning the history of photography from its invention in the 1830s to the present. Among the treasures from the early years of the medium are a rare album of photographs by William Henry Fox Talbot made just months after he presented his invention to the public; a large collection of portrait daguerreotypes by the Boston firm of Southworth and Hawes; landscape photographs of the American West by Timothy O'Sullivan and Carleton Watkins; and fine examples of French photography from the 1850s by Edouard Baldus, Charles Nègre, Gustave Le Gray, Henri Le Secq, Nadar, and others.
Posted: Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Welcome to the exhibition Grand Illusions: Staged Photography from the Met Collection, where you'll find your eyes wandering and your imagination running loose. At the exhibition's entrance, you'll see a lady in white, the Countess of Castiglione, in Pierre-Louis Pierson's La Frayeur. After losing myself in the Museum for three hours on an ordinary Tuesday, I found myself entranced by this lady in white. Clearly, she is a woman of finer taste: her dress is posh and hair exquisite. But, it was her pose that drew me in. I wondered, "What's wrong? Why is she running away?" And, as an afterthought, "Was it her fault?"
Posted: Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Alphonso Lisk-Carew was a Sierra Leonean photographer whose practice was firmly rooted in the histories of Sierra Leone. Lisk-Carew's career spanned over fifty years, and his photography threw into sharp relief Sierra Leone's myriad local personalities, cityscapes, cultural practices, and natural resources. Through his lens, Lisk-Carew witnessed the development of Sierra Leone under the colonial regime, and became one amongst many early Sierra Leonean photographers who had a hand in shaping the country's history.
Posted: Tuesday, December 8, 2015
While browsing through the Met's Collection Online, I stumbled upon the work of photographer Thomas Struth, who takes captivating photographs of public spaces around the world. Living in New York, I was especially drawn to the relatability of his photograph Crosby Street, Soho, New York.
Posted: Monday, December 7, 2015
Who were those Gold Coast men? Lamentably, we are often missing crucial information on photographs from the 1880s. Still, it's worth making some educated guesses about what is signified in Albert George Lutterodt and George A. G. Lutterodt's Five Men.
Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Artists often tell us that the Met is their favorite museum to visit, and their comments on works in the collection are among the most insightful one can hear (see, for instance, the fantastic results of The Artist Project, where a hundred artists respond to objects in the Museum's galleries are being assembled—forty episodes are already up). I was thrilled, then, when my colleagues Elizabeth Mankin Kornhauser and Stephanie Herdrich asked for my advice last January about living artists they might approach to contribute to the Audio Guide for Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends. I agreed with them that an artist's voice, particularly in the context of an exhibition of a painter's portraits of his friends and acquaintances, would be vital and exciting.
Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015
Yosemite is one of the United States' most popular national parks. It is no shock that Carleton Watkins wanted to photograph the park, with its breathtaking waterfalls, towering trees, and high rocky cliffs. But back in the mid-nineteenth century this was not an easy task. All of his photographs were produced on albumen silver prints from a glass negative—a very rarely seen, old-time photography technique.
Posted: Friday, September 19, 2014
Growing up in the midst of the digital age, where technology is constantly advancing, my conception of the past is ever-changing. For example, my initial interest in digital photography led me to look further into film photography, but after discovering the visually stunning work of Garry Winogrand currently on view at the Met, my views on film photography have already been altered.
Posted: Wednesday, September 17, 2014
What do a tropical bird, fruit, and a new box of crayons all have in common? Well, they're bright and full of color, of course—something that can't be found within the array of photographs in the Met's current exhibition Garry Winogrand, on view through September 21. Growing up, I was always told, "Not everything is black and white…" But who says it can't be?
Posted: Friday, September 12, 2014
1. (of signals or data) expressed as series of the digits 0 and 1, typically represented by values of a physical quantity such as voltage or magnetic polarization.
1.1. relating to, using, or storing data or information in the form of digital signals. "digital TV"
1.2. involving or relating to the use of computer technology. "the digital revolution"
noun; plural noun: stories
1. an account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment. "an adventure story"
And that's just what a photograph is, a digital story, right?
Posted: Friday, September 5, 2014
There is no doubt that photography deserves to be considered an art form. Just like painting, sculpture, and countless other media, it dares you as a photographer to see things in ways no one has before. It allows you to be unique and capture life around you. Artists were doing this for centuries before the first camera was even invented. However, with the advent of photography, for the first time moments could be captured in a flash. A subject did not need to hold still for a painter or pose endlessly for a sculptor. Photography broke down the facade and revealed moments of life more accurately than ever before. Garry Winogrand was able to show this through thousands of his candid street shots. Most people did not realize that they were being photographed, showing real expressions instead of posing with a phony smile.