This post shouldn’t be accompanied by a photograph.
Which is strange, since it’s a post about a photography exhibit–namely the Princeton University Art Museum’s show, “Shared Vision.”
But when I talked to Katherine Bussard, the museum’s photography curator, she explained that these photographs are more powerful when you experience them physically.
Shared Vision displays just 70 or so of the hundreds of photographic prints collected by Sondra Gilman and Celso Gonzalez-Falla over the course of their lives. Many of these are “greatest hits” — an early print of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Petit-Nicholas-esque boy with carafes of wine or Harold Edgerton’s Milk Drop Coronet. You’ve seen some (though almost certainly not all) of these images before… in photography textbooks or as desktop backgrounds or in calendars.
But even though you’ve seen them before, they’re worth seeing again, in this context. As Katherine Bussard explains, Gilman and Gonzalez-Falla collected the earliest prints of these images, preserving the photographers’ first paper and contrast choices, their first relationship to the product of their camera. The prints in this exhibit hold information about these iconic photographs that you will never get from a blog post on a computer screen.
In this digital age, we often try to replace physical experiences with mixed media internet simulations. I’ve done it on this blog.
But not this time.
This time, I won’t post a gallery of photographs or a bunch of video links. I included one, just to tempt you, but for the rest of the exhibit, I encourage you to head down to the art museum and have the full experience of looking at these prints in the flesh.