sepia toned antique photos of a woman wearing a white dress and standing in various poses

André Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri, Mme. Cusani, ca. 1860, Uncut albumen cartes-de-visite, 7 5/16 in. x 6 1/16 in.,

Making, Not Taking: Portrait Photography in the 19th Century

Feb 7, 2020–Jun 7, 2020
Joan Levine Freedman ’57 and Richard I. Freedman Gallery
Open to the Wellesley College campus community only

*Please Note: The Davis Museum at Wellesley College has suspended all public access through March 31. Public programs have been canceled or rescheduled and gallery access is limited to the Wellesley College campus community. Please call for more information and updates: 781.283.2051.*

Mounted in conjunction with Going Viral: Photography, Performance, and the Everyday, this exhibition tells an earlier history of vernacular photography—that of 19th-century portraiture. Similar to snapshots, the portrait photograph is enigmatic for its ability to be a one-of-a-kind object (a family keepsake) and a duplicate (a repetition of conventional settings, poses, and framing devices) all at once. However, before photographs were taken or snapped, they were made. Early photography was a process that involved a great deal of time, labor, and costly materials. Thus, this exhibition explores the materiality, the craft, and the event of photography in its earliest iterations.

Curated by Carrie Cushman, Linda Wyatt Gruber ’66 Curatorial Fellow in Photography.

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Generously supported by:

Linda Wyatt Gruber (class of 1966) and Wellesley College Friends of Art at the Davis.

Image Credit:

Museum purchase with funds provided by Jacqueline Loewe Fowler (Class of 1947), 1997.47