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Where, When and Who Took That Photograph?
March 11 through June 10, 2002
Third Floor Gallery
Curated by William J. Dane
An exhibition devoted to some of the most important developments in the history of photography is currently on view at The Newark Public Library, 5 Washington Street on Washington Park in downtown Newark. The exhibit is entitled "Where, When and Who Took That Photograph?" and some of the answers are found in unique posters, antique albums, unusual books and carefully selected original photographs. This salute to the art of photography runs from March 11th through June 10, 2002.

"Spider Webs," original photograph by Alvin Langdon Coburn from Camera Work,  1908.

Without doubt, the most popular materials in the show are original photographs by Ansel Adams, Harry Callahan, Larry Clark, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, William Eggleston and Victor Macarol from New Jersey. Of substantial historic interest are issues of the legendary magazine, "Camera Work" which was a seminal journal of photography founded by Alfred Stieglitz who served as editor. He published the work of photographers associated with the Photo-Secessionist movement from 1903 to 1917. The reproductions in the magazine were photogravures which Stieglitz considered the artistic equivalent of original photographs. He wanted his journal to reproduce the best work of Americans and foreign photographers. The covers were designed by Edward Steichen and many photos from the magazine are displayed in the exhibit.

Poster to announce an exhibition at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris of the career of Gaspard-Felix Nadar pioneering photographer.  Printed by the Mourlot firm, 1965.
Over the more than 110 years since The Newark Public Library was founded in 1889, The Library has gathered together a number of notable books by leading figures in the fascinating field of photography. These include publications by and about Robert Frank, Karl Blossfeldt, Lisette Model, Roy de Carava, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Man Ray, Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol and Margaret Bourke-White who shot the photograph of Montana's Peck Dam which was the cover of the first issue of the highly influential LIFE magazine which was a roaring success in the realms of publishing and photography in the decades following 1936.

 

Andy Warhol used experimental photographer for the cover of one of his early artist's books.

Several vintage albums indicate the nostalgic and sentimental value people placed on images of treasured family members or important journeys and exciting trips to major sites in the United States, Great Britain or European locations. Souvenir pamphlets and small photo brochures were quickly bought up and saved in bureau and desk drawers as they include clear pictures of the Russo-Japanese War of 1905 or the civic disasters of the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906. A photo record of Newark in 1892 in sepia tones shows major buildings of the time in great detail as well as highways and by ways of the growing, proud metropolis in the final decade of the 19th century.

The devastating 1906 San Francisco earthquake as captured in a photographic souvenir album.

Recently uncovered are a grouping of clear, crisp photos of William McKinley who served as the 25th President of the United States from 1896 to September, 1901 when he was assassinated. These include portraits in profile and full-face as well as sharply detailed portraits of him seated along with Vice President, Garret Augustus Hobart of Long Branch and Paterson, New Jersey. The exact same photo of the President has been neatly joined to show him later with Theodore Roosevelt in an amiable setting recording two highly notable Americans who were prominent figures in our history at the turn of the last century.
President William McKinley and Vice President Garret Augustus Hobart, 1899.

Particular attention in this display is given to three exciting developments in photography which quickly received enormous attention and financial support from vast numbers of people in the international marketplace. These amazing changes were stereoscopic, polaroid and holographic images. The most recent holography development had immediate appeal to the commercial world of entertainment, magazine covers and comic books. These are included in the exhibit with 19th century stereoscopic views and a more recent 1939 set of stereo photos of the New York World's Fair assembled in boxed sets by Henry B. Rogers of Newark. A basic viewer was included in these sets so the magic of stereoscopic views was readily available to purchasers of Mr. Murphy's photo record. Other New Jersey photographers who are shown are Helen Stummer's sociological photos as recorded in her Temple University publication, "No Easy Walk", and a contemporary rainy day scene in Kearney by Alex Rodriguez.

Stereoscopic view of the 1939 New York Word's Fair taken by Newark photographer, Henry B. Rogers.

Much of the space in The Library's gallery is devoted to classic and much admired posters widely celebrated by photo enthusiasts. These feature the work of Richard Avedon, Robert Doisneau, W. Eugene Smith, Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, and Paul Strand. Historic figures in posters include Daguerre, Nadar, and Edward Curtis. Of absorbing visual interest is a 1936 poster photo of construction workers enjoying their well earned lunch on a steel beam for a skyscraper near Manhattan's Sixth Avenue and the West 50's. They are seen casually relaxed suspended hundreds of feet in the air with absolutely nothing at all below or above them. The photographer is unknown, but the construction crew comes off as skilled working heroes on a break from a really tough job.

The 150 pieces on display are from the Library's Special Collections and ancillary subject areas. The show was gathered together and curated by William J. Dane, Keeper of Prints and Posters at The Library. The exhibit is open free of any charges to Library visitors during regular posted hours for The Library which are Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays from 9a.m. to 5:30p.m. and on Tuesday, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9a.m. to 8:30p.m. For specific information and related details of inquiry, please call (973) 733-7745.

Photographic portrait of the writer, Carlyle, taken by Julia Margaret Cameron.  From Camera Work, 1913.

 

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