Photography’s digital revolution represents the largest technological break in its history. As a result, artists, scholars, and curators are engaging in medium-based conversations with the practice and history of photography differently. A focus on materials and processes inflects the digitization of collections and archives, and these digital resources have offered fresh perspectives on historical material. Expanding scholarship in the field of photographic paper conservation and contemporary photographers’ increasing experimentation with traditional chemical processes are among the resulting trends. We invite photography curators, conservators, artists, and historians to consider how the digital revolution in photography is changing approaches to the medium’s history.
9:00–10:00 a.m. Coffee and arrivals
10:00 a.m. Welcome and introductions
10:20 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Virtual Vision: Digital Humanities Approaches to Researching Objects, History, and Collections
What unique perspectives and scholarly discoveries emerge from digital humanities presentations of historical collections?
Mitra Abbaspour and Kelly Cannon, The Museum of Modern Art
Object:Photo. Modern Photographs from the Thomas Walther Collection, at MoMA.org/objectphoto
Dan Edelstein, Stanford University
The Republic of Letters, at republicofletters.stanford.edu
Alice Carver-Kubick, Image Permanence Institute
Graphics Atlas, at graphicsatlas.org
Laura Wexler and Lauren Tilton, Yale University
Photogrammar, at photogrammar.yale.edu
Paola Antonelli, The Museum of Modern Art
12:00–1:30 p.m. Lunch
1:30–3:10 p.m. On a Silver Surface: Historical and Contemporary Practices with Gelatin Silver Prints
Contemporary conservation, scientific, and artistic gelatin-silver practices are renewing our relationship to 20th-century photography’s dominant medium.
Lee Ann Daffner, The Museum of Modern Art
Diving Deep: Compiling Material Data from Gelatin Silver Photographs
Paul Messier, independent photograph conservator
The expressive building blocks of photographic paper
Liz Deschenes, artist
Richard Benson, Yale University, emeritus
Print Technology’s Ongoing Evolution
Respondent: Jim Coddington, The Museum of Modern Art
3:30–5:30 p.m. From Here On… A Roundtable Discussion on Modern Photography and Perspectives for the Future
Moderated by Maria Morris Hambourg, Lee Ann Daffner, and Mitra Abbaspour, The Museum of Modern Art
Virginia Heckert, Getty Museum
Andrés Zervigón, Rutgers University
Jason Hill, New York Historical Society
Respondent: Audrey Sands, The Museum of Modern Art
5:30–6:30 p.m. Walkthrough of Modern Photographs: The Thomas Walther Collection, 1909–1949
Led by exhibition curators Quentin Bajac and Sarah Meister
Reconsidering the Object is part of The Thomas Walther Collection project and is made possible through the generosity of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The symposium accompanies the launch of the publication Object: Photo. Modern Photographs: The Thomas Walther Collection, 1909–1949 and the digital humanities research platform, which launches on December 9th. In conjunction with the project, MoMA presents the exhibition Modern Photographs from the Thomas Walther Collection, 1909–1949, on view from December 13, 2014, to April 26, 2015.