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Josh Sapan and Luc Sante - The Big Picture

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October 23, 2013

Program Locations:

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Margaret Liebman Berger Forum

FREE - Berger Forum doors open at 5:30 p.m.

The Big Picture, Red Jacket concrete bridge dedication, Blue Earth County, Minnesota, August 22, 1911.The Big Picture, Red Jacket concrete bridge dedication, Blue Earth County, Minnesota, August 22, 1911.The early 20th century saw a mania for panoramic group photographs, some encompassing hundreds of people and spanning a full 360 degrees. Celebrated in a new book, The Big Picture: America in Panorama, the panoramic photo is an ostensibly faithful record that can blur the line between fact and fiction. Join editor Josh Sapan and critic Luc Sante as they discuss these astonishing images and show examples of some of their favorites.

The Big Picture, Eleventh annual dinner of the Erie Railroad Association at the Hotel Savoy, New York, New York, February 23, 1906.The Big Picture, Eleventh annual dinner of the Erie Railroad Association at the Hotel Savoy, New York, New York, February 23, 1906.At the turn of the 20th century, photographic technology and an American culture of optimism and self-celebration combined to create what Luc Sante calls the “strange and compelling medium” of panoramic group photography. Organizations famed and obscure—from the Anti-Saloon League of America and the troops at Camp Sevier during the Great War to the members of the Midget Swing Review—commissioned photographers to produce images that sometimes encompassed a full 360 degrees. The photographs compose a portrait of a society on the cusp of sweeping change, as their details preserve the enduring humanity of their subjects: a bathing beauty tosses her curls; a group of cross-dressing women smile enigmatically at an off-camera friend; children at play on a summertime lawn appear only as blurs behind an Ohio town meeting. Compiled by Josh Sapan, The Big Picture: America in Panorama gathers nearly one hundred of these fascinating images, most never before published.

The Big Picture, Pilgrimage of the twenty-third annual conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, May 22, 1932.The Big Picture, Pilgrimage of the twenty-third annual conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, May 22, 1932.Copies of the book are available for purchase and signing at the event after the audience Q&A.

Josh Sapan is the CEO of Rainbow Media, the company that operates the cable channels AMC, IFC, WEtv, and the Sundance Channel. The channels, movies, documentaries and series created under his guidance have won multiple awards including Emmys, Golden Globes, Oscars, and Peabodys. Sapan serves on the board of trustees of the New School, People For The American Way, and the Museum of the Moving Image.

The Big Picture, Bathing suit fashion parade, Seal Beach, California, July 14, 1918.The Big Picture, Bathing suit fashion parade, Seal Beach, California, July 14, 1918.Luc Sante is a writer and critic whose books include Folk Photography, Kill All Your Darlings, Walker Evans, The Factory of Facts, and Low Life. He has received numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Grammy Award for album liner notes, and an Infinity Award for writing from the International Center of Photography. Sante teaches writing and the history of photography at Bard College.

The Big Picture, Old-Timers’ baseball team on Dunn Field at Cleveland’s 125th anniversary celebration, Cleveland, Ohio, July 29, 1921.The Big Picture, Old-Timers’ baseball team on Dunn Field at Cleveland’s 125th anniversary celebration, Cleveland, Ohio, July 29, 1921.This event is organized in collaboration with Arezoo Moseni.

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