British photographic history

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Exhibition: Public Eye: 175 Years of Sharing Photography

New York Public Library's exhibition Public Eye: 175 Years of Sharing Photography is a fascinating history of photography based on its own holdings of books, printed materials and photographs. The exhibition includes plenty British material from Talbot's Pencil of Nature and an Anna Atkins album to Frith's Gossiping Photographer and more recent work.

Thanks to the development of new technology and social media, more photographs are created, viewed, and shared today than ever before. Public Eye, the first-ever retrospective survey of photography organized by NYPL, takes advantage of this moment to reframe the way we look at photographs from the past. What are some of the platforms and networks through which photographs have been shared? In what ways have we, as photography’s public and one of its subjects, been engaged over time? To what ends has the street served as a venue for photographic practice since its beginnings? And, of more recent concern, are we risking our privacy in pursuit of a more public photography? Ranging from photography’s official announcement in 1839 to manifestations of its current pervasiveness, this landmark exhibition, drawn entirely from the Library’s collections, explores the various ways in which photography has been shared and made public. Photography has always been social.


It is on show until 4 September 2015.

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