this is [not] a photograph
Amanda Means, Flower, 1996, Gelatin Silver Print

October 20 - November 14, 2001

This is Not a Photograph presents the works of fifteen contemporary artists who explore light, shadow, and light- sensitive mediums to create works that dispense with conventional assumptions about the photographic image, its appearance and production. The use of cameraless photogram techniques, lensless pinhole cameras and rudimentary filtrations of light by artists in this exhibition continues the investigation begun by William Henry Fox Talbot.

In the 1830s, Talbot recorded the passing of sunlight through the leaves of plants by placing them on light sensitive paper. This historical milestone was hailed as the invention of photography, and established in principles and practices the foundation of modern photography. From this same source a parallel aesthetic developed - not that of what the camera can capture, but of the creative potential of the materials themselves.

The concept behind Talbot's "photogenic drawings" of leaves has been updated nearly every decade since. Work made with photosensitive materials, but without cameras, led to the art of Christian Schad, Man Ray, Lazlo Moholy-Nagy in the 1920s and 30s, Lotte Jacobi and Carlotta Carpron's work of the 40s and 50s and Frederick Sommer and Robert Heineken in the 60s and 70s. The artists in This is Not a Photograph continue the exploration of technology and nature to expand the definition of photography.

Curated by Professor Roger Sayre. Toured under the auspices of Pamela Auchinclass/Arts Management. Roger Sayre's appearance funded in part by the Christopher U. Light Lecture in the Arts.

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