Unidentified artist (Japanese, 19th Century), Japan, Portrait of a Young Man with Bonsai and Book, 1883, ambrotype in kiri wood (paulownia) case, 4 7/8 x 3 ¾ x ½ in. (12.4 x 9.5 x 1.3 cm) closed, Museum Purchase: Friends of Photography, 2018.34
Jean-Pierre Sudre (1921-1997), France, Soleils, 1959, gelatin silver print, mordançage, 19 3/8 x 15 in. (49.2 x 38.1 cm), Museum Purchase: FotoFocus Art Purchase Fund, 17/18.99, © Estate of Jean-Pierre Sudre, Courtesy Gitterman Gallery
Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey (1804–1892) , France, Karnak Temple, Thebes, Egypt, 1843–1844, daguerreotype, 3 5/16 x 3 13/16 x 3/16 in. (8.4 x 9.7 x .5 cm), Museum Purchase: FotoFocus Art Purchase Fund, 2017.51
Anna Atkins (1799–1871), Great Britain, Myrrhis Odorata, circa 1854, cyanotype, 13 7/16 x 9 ½ in. (34.2 x 24.2 cm), The Albert P. Strietmann Collection, 1985.21
Paul Strand (1890–1976), United States, Chair Abstraction, Twin Lakes, Connecticut, 1916, printed 1945, gelatin silver print, 12 15/16 x 9 9/16 in. (32.8 x 24.3 cm), Museum Purchase: Gift of the estates of Clara J. Schawe and Mary Louise Burton, by exchange, 1987.96, © Paul Strand Archive/Aperture Foundation
Part of an ongoing series of small exhibitions featuring special objects from the museum’s photography collection, First Photographs presents notable photographs that have rarely been on view, exciting new acquisitions, and objects we hope communicate the thrill of discovering something wonderful inside a museum storage box.
Photography has been associated with newness, discovery and change throughout its nearly 180-year history. Although the works on view are diverse, each suggests ways to think about photography’s relationship with novelty — from aesthetic innovation to technological advances, from intrepid exploration to breaking news, from firsts in a particular artist’s career to new directions for our collection. Represented photographers include Anna Atkins, Nathan Flint Baker and Leavitt Hunt, Ludwig Belitski, Henry Dixon, Roger Fenton, Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey, Raghu Rai, Paul Strand, Jean-Pierre Sudre, and Harry Fowler Woods, among others.