Many of the social and political issues currently at the forefront of popular discussion have been present for multiple generations. This rotation in the History of Photography Gallery considers contemporary events in light of our past and underscores cyclical and persistent themes in American society—including race, gender, and colonialism, to name a few. The exhibition, curated by Ross Knapper, Collection Manager in the Department of Photography, features photographs by Barbara Norfleet, Mary Ellen Mark, Patrick Nagatani, Dawoud Bey, Larry McNeil, and Lim Young Kyun, as well as several unidentified photographers.
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.