In the Darkroom: Photographic Processes Before the Digital Age

October 25, 2009 – March 14, 2010

West Building, Ground Floor, Inner Tier Galleries G30, G31, G32


Overview: 78 photographs and 4 bound volumes were presented in this exhibition chronicling major technological developments in photographic processes from the origins of the medium until the advent of digital photography. The photographs were selected primarily from the collection of the National Gallery of Art, augmented by loans from private collections. Works on view ranged from an early photogenic drawing by William Henry Fox Talbot to Polaroid prints by Andy Warhol, and included examples of salted paper, albumen, gelatin silver, and chromogenic prints along with examples of photomechanical processes such as photogravure and halftone. Exhibition wall texts explained the technical processes.

Organization: The exhibition was organized by the National Gallery of Art. Sarah Kennel, associate curator of photographs, and Diane Waggoner, assistant curator of photographs, were curators. The exhibition was made possible by the Trellis Fund.

Attendance: 50,359

Catalog: In the Darkroom: An Illustrated Guide to Photographic Processes before the Digital Age by Sarah Kennel et al. Washington: National Gallery of Art and New York: Thames & Hudson Inc., 2009.

Image: Installation view of In the Darkroom: Photographic Processes Before the Digital Age, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Gallery Archives


NGA Behind the Scenes: In the Darkroom: Photographic Processes before the Digital Age
Sarah Kennel, associate curator, department of photographs, National Gallery of Art, Washington

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