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"The American Photographer as Historian" Exhibition


    The University of Delaware Library announces the forthcoming exhibition, “The American Photographer as Historian,” which will be on display on the first floor of the Morris Library, near the Interlibrary Loan Office from June 13, 2006 through September 15, 2006.  The curator of “The American Photographer as Historian” is Sally Donatello, Library Assistant, Special Collections Department.

    The birth of still photography is one of the most significant technological innovations in history.  As the medium evolved, its documentary role grew.  Its various permutations provided an abundance of records for various uses.  This exhibition demonstrates the power of the photographic image and the role of the American photographer as historian.  

    From the mid-1800s to the beginning of the twenty-first century American photographers have been critical recorders of history.  Pioneers of photography brought a new kind of portraiture into prominence.  As soon as they moved outside their studios, a new kind of historian was born.  Many of those early photographs are the only known visual documentation of an event, a person, a place, or an artifact. 

    As witness to history, photographers endure glorious and unforeseen obstacles to capture a moment that would otherwise be lost.  The preservation of a small or monumental instance is the backbone of this visual media.  

    Today’s digital processes assure that photography’s documentation can reach vast audiences for current and future generations.  People unfamiliar with faces of great world leaders or everyday people from remote communities or the landscape of the Old West can learn about them through still photography. 

    Photography is a silent language that reveals itself through visual storytelling.  Its power is insurmountable. The exhibition is organized in four categories: People and places, nature and human nature, photojournalism, and material culture.  A bibliography of books displayed will be available on Special Collections Website

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