» Camera Obscured
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Photographic Documentation & the Public Museum
15 May 1999 – 18 Jul 1999
Charles Carpenter. Artist Frederick Blaschke putting finishing touches on the Neolithic Sun Worship Diorama, the Field Museum of Natural History
c. 1930. Black and white photograph.
Originated at Photographers' Gallery, London, England & circulated by the Toronto Photographers Workshop.
Camera Obscured is composed of 89 "behind-the-scenes" photographs selected from the archives of prominent museums, including the Louvre, Paris; the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and the Art Institute of Chicago. Most of the photographs were taken between 1856 and 1965 by staff photographers using large format cameras. The resulting finely detailed images enable us to carry out an archaeology of public museums, with the museum itself positioned as artifact.
The exhibition's curator, Vid Ingelevics, writes in the exhibition catalogue that "the historical photographs are uniquely able to show us the relentless construction of an impression of objectivity... The photographs selected for this exhibition draw attention to the museum as a construction site (a sight, in fact), sustained by many forms of labour." Camera Obscured explores the ways in which museums and photography work on one another to produce knowledge.
The Toronto-based curator-photographer, Vid Ingelevics, presented an informal talk in the gallery on Sunday 23 May.
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