Selections from the Collection [Rotation 16]
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Selections from the Collection [Rotation 16]

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Selections from the Collection [Rotation 16]

April 2–October 3, 2021

DescriptionToday, it is easy to assume that playing with and in front of the camera is something new, but play has been captured in pictures as long as photography has existed. Since the nineteenth century, photographs have depicted people enjoying themselves—playing with dolls or a game of chess, riding bicycles, frolicking on the beach.

This rotation of photographs from the museum’s collection demonstrates that play is as essential a theme in the medium’s history as it is in our lives. The selection includes works by Clarence H. White (American, 1871–1925) and Evan Baden (American, b. Saudi Arabia, b. 1985), illustrating the impact of technology on gaming over more than a century. It also includes photographs by Helen Levitt (American, 1913–2009) and Terry Evans (American, b. 1944) that portray pastimes in urban and rural environments, and pictures by Gordon Parks (American, 1912–2006) and Aaron Siskind (American, 1903–1991) that present scenes inside places dedicated to diversion.

The introduction of snapshot cameras intended for amateurs in the 1880s encouraged a more playful approach to photography than the formality of professional photography studios typically allowed. Through different time periods and types of play, photography continues to capture happy memories to be revisited later and enjoyed all over again.

Generously sponsored by St. John’s.

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