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"The Photographer's Eye:" A Way of Seeing

January 19 - April 20, 2008


The Museum of Photographic Arts (MoPA) announces the exhibition 'The Photographer's Eye:' A Way of Seeing, on view from January 19 - April 20, 2008. Drawn from MoPA's permanent collection, this exhibition interprets the groundbreaking book, The Photographer's Eye (1966) by John Szarkowski, now in reprint and available at MoPA's bookstore. As director of photography at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), NY, from 1962 to 1991, Szarkowski curated 160 exhibitions. He championed the careers of visionary photographers such as Garry Winogrand, Diane Arbus, and Lee Friedlander, among many others. (right: Ruth Bernhard, Hand In Hand, 1956, Gelatin silver print, Collection Museum of Photographic Arts)

With his passing in July 2007, this exhibition acts as an homage to Szarkowski's influential career. MoPA will use The Photographer's Eye as a template from which to view over 120 photographs from its permanent collection, and to celebrate the museum's 25th anniversary through a renewed commitment to collecting.

"The digital age has introduced, among other things, inventive realities into photography," says MoPA Curator Carol McCusker. "This exhibition brings us back to something essential about photography by illustrating what the camera, above all other devices, does best."

As Szarkowski said in The Photographer's Eye, "This [is] an investigation of what photographs look like, and why they look that way."

As a way of understanding what the medium uniquely offers to the visual arts, his thesis introduces five characteristics inherent to photography: "The Thing Itself," "The Detail," "The Frame," "Time," and "Vantage Point." MoPA's exhibition will explore these categories through the work of Garry Winogrand and William Eggleston, influential in Szarkowski's career. Also, Ruth Bernhard, Susan Meiselas, Stephen Shore, Josef Sudek and Wright Morris will be included, among many others.

In addition to MoPA's permanent collection, the museum will include several of Szarkowski's own photographs for the exhibition. Prior to becoming curator of MoMA, Szarkowski was also a photographer, illustrated by his book on the architecture of Louis Sullivan. After retiring in 1991, he returned to the medium, almost exclusively photographing his upstate New York farm. MoPA's newest exhibition inserts him into his own thesis as the ultimate culmination of his photographic legacy.

Ancillary exhibitions at MoPA include Picturing the Process: Portraiture Through the Lens, on view January 12 - July 6, 2008, and Measured Time: MoPA at 25, on view January 12 - April 20, 2008.

 

(above: Harold Eugene Edgerton, Water into Goblet, 1934, Gelatin silver print, Collection Museum of Photographic Arts)

 

(above: Leon Levinstein, Coney Island, ca. 1954, Gelatin silver print, Collection Museum of Photographic Arts)

 

(above: August Sander, Bricklayer's Mate, 1928, Gelatin silver print, Collection Museum of Photographic Arts)

 

(above: Stephen Shore, Pittsfield, Maine, 1974, Cibachrome print, Collection Museum of Photographic Arts)

 

(above: Douglas Mellor (American b.1947), Still Life with Melon, 1994, Gelatin Silver Print, Collection Museum of Photographic Arts)

 

(above: Annette Fournet (American b.1953), Praha, Czech Republic, 1994, Gelatin Silver Print, Collection Museum of Photographic Arts)

 

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