Emerson Gallery

History of Exhibitions


Hamilton Collects Photography: The First 100 Years

August 25 - November 23, 2003

Site of one of the nation's first photography classes - circa 1840s

This exhibition was a comprehensive historical survey of photography from the emergence of the daguerreotype in the 1840s to the height of the modern period during the first half of the 20th century. The exhibition included worlks by many well-known photographers , among them Eadweard Muybridge, Thomas Eakins, Berenice Abbott, Eugen Atget and Ansel Adams.

Drawn from the collections of Hamilton alumni, parents, and friends, "Hamilton Collects Photography" includes approximately 170 photographs. The show highlights a spectrum of styles, porcesses and movements including collodion (wet plate camera), cartes-de-visites, and stereoscopic views. Among the unique images included were the earliest paper photograph of Jerusalem. Muybridge pioneering motion studies, and Eakin's portrait of Walt Whitman.

The show was divided into 12 sections beginning with the daguerreotypes of the 1840s and continuing with the photography of the Civil War, early paper photography of the Holy Lands, images of the American West, early 20th century images of New York and Paris, portrait photography and experimental photography of the early modernists. Also included were many portraits of well known artists, politicians, and performers (Greta Garbo, Paul Robeson, Jackie Robinson, James Joyce, George Bracque) captured by equally famous photographers. Several of the images were recognizable to many, llike the Ansel Adams "Moonrise" or the Steichen "Flat Iron Building", but most included in this exhibition were unique in some way, whether by virtue of theire provenance or the timing or process of their creation.

The Hamilton Collects series focuses on current collecting trends in the Hamilton College communit to illuminate the art of collecting and affirm the value of aliberal arts education in making judgments of quality. the first milestone exhibition(spring 2002), "Hamilton Collects American Art", told the story of American Art from colonial times to the mid-20th century. The next planned "Hamilton Collects" exhbition will focus on modern, post-1950 American art. This was the first photography exhibition of this scope and depth in the upstate region of New York. A fully illustrated catalogue was published to accompany the exhibition.