Art/Document: Defining American PhotographyJanuary 18 - April 24, 2005
In the first decade of the 20th century, photography remained a highly contested medium, despite the passage of more than 60 years since the perfection of photographic printing methods.
The Photo-Secessionists, an influential group of American photographers led by Alfred Stieglitz, championed the notion that photography was a fine art capable of transcending the camera's mechanical character in order to convey artistic expression.
By contrast, documentary photographers, most notably Lewis Hine, argued that the camera was uniquely capable of providing a truthful, even scientific, account of contemporary events.
This exhibition, drawn from the Museum's collection, offers a glimpse of the heated debate over photography's status by juxtaposing important works by Photo-Secessionists such as Gertrude Käsebier, Eduard Steichen, and Paul Strand with examples of Lewis Hine's groundbreaking documentation of the plight of child laborers in Vermont.
Curated by Evelyn C. Hankins, curator of collections and exhibitions, Fleming Museum
© 2011 University of Vermont
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