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Long Exposure

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Long Exposure: A Century of Pictorialism

March 2 - June 27, 2021

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About the Exhibition

Pictorialism, an international photographic movement that emerged late in the nineteenth century in Europe and soon spread to the United States, argued for photography’s status as a fine art through the adoption of techniques and subjects associated with painting. 


After its invention around 1830, photography was generally believed to objectively depict the natural world. In the early 1840s, however, Scottish photographers David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson began making portraits that period viewers compared to the style of Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn. By 1870, Henry Peach Robinson, Julia Margaret Cameron, and other British photographers sought to distinguish the medium from science. To that end, they modeled their images after Impressionist paintings, used special filters, and manipulated negatives to achieve a painterly effect.

While the movement waned in the 1910s, this exhibition demonstrates Pictorialism’s lasting influence on amateurs, art photographers, Hollywood portraitists, and photographers of the American West. Long Exposure traces Pictorialism’s nineteenth-century beginnings to the present day, when contemporary artists and photographers continue to manipulate photographic images to create new art.

Sneak Peak at Long Exposure