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Don’t miss the Library exhibition! Through January 2, 2011

H enri Cartier-Bresson compared portraits to a visual reverberation, in which “the people come back to you like a silent echo. A photograph is a vestige of a face, a face in transit.” His definition of portraiture (appealing to themes of recall, repetition, and return) also applies more generally to photography itself, describing a medium that has been repeatedly renegotiated over its short history, including at The New York Public Library, whether in terms of mechanical reproduction, documentary evidence, or as an independent art. Photography at NYPL traces its origins back to the opening of the Astor Library in 1849, a decade after Louis Daguerre announced the first commercially viable photographic process to the world. Photographs have been part of the Library ever since, whether collected as supporting reference matter for various divisions or as original source material based on depicted subjects. “Photography” as a distinct research category and collecting division, however, was not formally recognized until 1980, following the launch of the Photography Documentation Project, which recorded original photographic material throughout the Library. In 1982, the Photography Collection was established and thousands of photographs were transferred into the collection, which today comprises 500,000 photographs by 6,000 photographers. This exhibition celebrates thirty years of photography at the Library with a selection of portraits that have become part of the Photography Collection (whether through transfer, donation, or purchase) since that time.

This exhibition has been made possible by the continuing generosity of Miriam and Ira D. Wallach.

Support for The New York Public Library's Exhibitions Program has been provided by Celeste Bartos, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos and Adam Bartos Exhibitions Fund, Jonathan Altman, and Pannonia Foundation.
Begin the Online Exhibition here.

Recollection: Thirty Years of Photography at The New York Public Library

Thursday, September 30, 2010 through Sunday, January 2, 2011

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
Print Gallery & Stokes Gallery

Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street
New York, NY 10018-2788

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Poster 1

Poster Design: Dresser-Johnson
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