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“Brought to Light” Details a History of Photography and Art

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Photography has always been an ugly stepchild in the art community due, in part, to the ease of tool usage. Opening this Saturday, June 16, is a survey of the Crocker Art Museum’s photography collection that weaves the histories of photography and art together in less than 50 images.

The survey traces the history of photography from daguerreotypes taken in the 1800s to silver gelatin to Polaroid and beyond. Along the way, a variety of other alternative processes are also explored.

In this 49-image exhibition opening Saturday, movers and shakers in the art community are also on display. Most recognize the paintings of Pablo Picasso, murals of Diego Rivera and photographs of Ansel Adams. Here, we will see what these contemporaries looked like through striking portraits.

Previous forays into the photography collection were centered upon a theme or idea and were narrow in scope, displaying only 15 images at a time.

Diana Daniels, who curated the exhibit, says, “Photography has a lot of theoretical thinking that has become attached to it, and is some of what makes contemporary photography so interesting.” She continues, “When you look at the work of Edward Weston, Brent Weston and the generations that followed, you see not a concern for three-dimensional images, but a highlighting with this unique instrument what the normal eye cannot take in and process.”

The most recent acquisition on display is a 2006 Lewis deSoto piece called “The Restoration,” which successfully reimagines Vermeer’s compositional aesthetic.  Another contemporary photographer from San Francisco is Chris McCaw. He utilizes early techniques, such as solarization, to achieve the effects he desires.

True art looks back on itself, reflects then reinterprets. Experience the history of art through the photographic lens in this survey that runs through September 3.

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