Recollection: Thirty Years of Photography at The New York Public Library
Henri Cartier-Bresson compared portraits to a visual reverberation, in which “the people come back to you like a silent echo. A photograph is a vestige of a face, a face in transit.” His definition of portraiture (appealing to themes of recall, repetition, and return) also applies more generally to photography itself, describing a medium that has been repeatedly renegotiated over its short history, whether in terms of mechanical reproduction, documentary evidence, or as an independent art. Recollection, along with its online multimedia presentation, celebrates thirty years of photography at The New York Public Library.
In 1980, the Library officially launched the Photography Documentation Project to record original photographic material throughout the Library and in 1982, the Photography Collection was established. Thousands of photographs were transferred into the collection, which today comprises 500,000 photographs by 6,000 photographers. This exhibition celebrates thirty years of photography at the Library with a selection of portraits that have become part of the Photography Collection (whether through transfer, donation, or purchase) since 1980.
This exhibition has been made possible by the continuing generosity of Miriam and Ira D. Wallach.
Support for The New York Public Library's Exhibitions Program has been provided by Celeste Bartos, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos and Adam Bartos Exhibitions Fund, Jonathan Altman, and Pannonia Foundation.