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FYI - Photography Exhibit at NYC Met
Just an FYI for museum-goers for an exhibit you might like to catch.
'Sight Unseen' Photography Exhibit At The Met
by Dana Tyler
(CBS) NEW YORK We all take and collect photographs, and some of us even have time to put them in an album. Before you know it, that photo collection can grow and grow.
New York businessman Howard Gilman had an eye and a love for photography. In 1970 he started collecting all kind of pictures until he had an "album" bulging with 8,500 photographs dating from the very beginnings of the medium in 1845 to 20th century masterpieces.
CBS 2's Dana Tyler did a story about the Gilman Collection when the Metropolitan Museum of Art first acquired it last March.
This latest installment is called "Sight Unseen." The exhibition is picture perfect for photography buffs, and for those of us from the point-and-shoot school of photography.
Associate Curator Jeff Rosenheim says the show is cultural history, political history, and photographic history. "What Gilman did was to remind us that this medium is still being discovered. It's the world's newest medium, we have 160 years of photography and we're still discovering what's in it."
There are many stories to tell in "Sight Unseen," like "Trolley-New Orleans" by photographer Robert Frank. Taken while on a road trip in 1955, it's a snapshot of passengers on a streetcar. Rosenheim considers it one of the most beautiful and haunting pictures in the exhibition, and suggests the image may remind visitors of the country's struggles with race relations and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The exhibition also shows off some of the first photographs ever taken in 1857 of Mexico's Mayan ruins. In one, before photographers could even get close to the temple, they had to put down their cameras, cut back and remove trees and vines that had overgrown the ancient site.
Photography and science meet in one of the rarest works in the exhibition. It's a page from photographer Anna Atkins nature book called "Photographs of British Algae." It looks like a blueprint in color. It's actually called a cyanotype. It took Atkins ten years, from 1843 to 1853 to produce the book.
Rosenheim says, "She would distribute it to clients who purchased it by subscription. So all of the science museums, amateur botanists, gentlemen, and cultural figures of England would want to have a set of British algae!" The Howard Gilman collection just keeps on giving.
Rosenheim says, "Absolutely, his activity alone brought things that might have been thrown away or forgotten to light. It's a kind of discovery of the medium by collecting it."
"Sight Unseen" is on display now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
(© MMVI, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
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