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: Friday, June 7, 2013
One of the first projects we undertook upon establishing the Thomas J. Watson Library's digitization initiative a few years ago was a collaboration with the Department of Photographs and its Joyce F. Menschel Photography Library.
Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2013
Sometimes, in discrete moments of boredom-induced reflection, I begin to think about why certain things have survived from the past and others haven't. I wonder whether it is through sheer dumb luck that some artworks are preserved while others are lost, and whether the creators of the surviving works had any idea that their work would last for so long and be seen by so many eyes.
Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Photography was invented just twenty years before the American Civil War. In many ways the war—its documentation, its soldiers, its battlefields—was the arena of the camera's debut in America. "The medium of photography was very young at the time the war began but it quickly emerged into the medium it is today," says Jeff Rosenheim, curator of the current exhibition Photography and the American Civil War (on view through September 2), and author of its accompanying catalogue. "I think that we are where we are in photographic history, in cultural history, because of what happened during the Civil War . . . it's the crucible of American history. The war changed the idea of what individual freedom meant; we abolished slavery, we unified our country, we did all those things, but with some really interesting new tools, one of which was photography."
Posted: Monday, April 22, 2013
Curator Jeff L. Rosenheim recently spoke to the Teen Advisory Group about the current exhibition Photography and the American Civil War. As part of his talk, he showed us an 1864 photograph of Union soldiers posing on the front steps of Robert E. Lee's Virginia home, which the government had confiscated in 1861.
Posted: Thursday, April 11, 2013
Photographs play an important role in history by documenting moments in time. When people look at historical photographs, they are able to peer into worlds they previously could only imagine.
Posted: Friday, December 28, 2012
Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2012
Let's consider these two images aesthetically, as visual matter to be both analytically dissected and emotionally felt.
Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Photoshop is a relatively new program that allows people to manipulate images digitally. However, artists began manipulating images long before Photoshop came to be.
Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Among the humorous, tragic, beautiful, and controversial photographs found in the current exhibition Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop, you will find disappearing people, questionable "others," ghostlike figures, and possible spirits. By using various methods of manipulation such as the combining of several negatives into one cohesive piece, mid-nineteenth-century photographers were able to make these spooky images.
Posted: Monday, August 20, 2012
As frequent visitors to the Met, we often create personal connections with the works of art we see in the galleries. In the Teen Advisory Group's recent photo adventure throughout the Museum, we attempted to integrate the works of art into our own reality.