Converging Lenses: Contemporary Responses to 19th-Century Photography

19 May 2024

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Sun, 19 May
14:00 – 15:00

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Artists featured in *Nineteenth-Century Photography Now* take an inquisitive approach to the ingenuity and conventions of early photography.


Converging Lenses: Contemporary Responses to 19th-Century Photography


Sunday, May 19, 2024, at 2 pm

Museum Lecture Hall


Free | Advance ticket required


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As the familiar adage goes, hindsight is 20/20. Contemporary artists featured in Nineteenth-Century Photography Now take an inquisitive approach to the inventiveness and conventions of photography’s early years. In this conversation moderated by Getty curator Carolyn Peter, artists Laura Larson, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, and Stephanie Syjuco talk about their artistic practices and how they are engaging with and critiquing photography from the 19th century.

Laura Larson uses 19th-century medical photographs that illustrated French doctor J. M. Charcot’s books on diagnosing emotional illnesses—particularly in women. She imagines the patients' lives and questions the power of these diagnoses.

Paul Mpagi Sepuya integrates props from the 19th century in his work and often include his own body or those of friends and lovers to explore concepts of the photographer’s studio and the voices and perspectives that were missing in that era—both from those taking the photographs and those who were the subjects.

Stephanie Syjuco examines how the history of photography is inseparable from the colonial enterprise. Early photographers created the standards that went hand in hand with an imperialist vision of cataloguing and positioning others into categories of civilized and uncivilized. Syjuco raids institutional archives for material and layers imagery to challenge this legacy.

Complements the exhibition Nineteenth-Century Photography Now on view through July 7, 2024.

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