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Curators

Sarah Greenough
Senior Curator and Head, Department of Photographs
National Gallery of Art, Washington

Andrea Nelson
Associate Curator, Department of Photographs
National Gallery of Art, Washington

Events

Exhibition Catalog

 The Memory of Time: Contemporary Photographs at the National Gallery of Art
The Memory of Time: Contemporary Photographs at the National Gallery of Art Sarah Greenough and Andrea Nelson, with Sarah Kennel, Diane Waggoner, and Leslie J. Ureña

Traces of History

The photographers presented in this section share a fascination with history, including early photographic techniques. With the growing popularity of digital photography, numerous artists, including Matthew Brandt, Chuck Close, Binh Danh, Adam Fuss, Myra Greene, David Maisel, Sally Mann, and Carrie Mae Weems, look to the past, resurrecting older, often 19th-century photographic processes and imagery. Far from antiquarian revivalists, these artists draw on our collective knowledge of visual and cultural history, and even our associations with antique printing techniques, as a way of employing the past to shape their present work. Some make daguerreotype or ambrotype portraits, as did their 19th-century predecessors; yet they do so with a self-conscious, critical scrutiny, often posing questions about how photography has influenced understandings of identity and race. Others photograph the landscape to examine not national character, like many earlier practitioners, but personal experiences, inverting our expectations to make us reflect on how the past affects our present lives.

 


Banner image: Adam Fuss, For Allegra, from the series "My Ghost," 2012, daguerreotype, 2013.112.1