SPEAKER 1: Our first speaker this afternoon is Dominique Luster who is the Charles Teenie Harris Archivist at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which is where Teenie Harris worked for his long career in the 20th century. She will tell you all about it. But he's an important photographer whose work has been getting, I hope, increasing amounts of attention.
There's a professor in our history department here at Cornell, Cheryl Finley, who's actually written about him. So there's a local connection as it were. There's almost 80,000 images in the archive dating from the 1930s to the 1970s.
And Dominique has been working on both organizing these things but also making the information available to the community and through various means of, what shall we say, digital engagement, which she will tell you about.
She previously was a liaison librarian for the University of Pittsburgh so she has had experience both in libraries and museums with archives. So Dominique.
DOMINIQUE LUSTER: So good afternoon. First, I would like to offer a very humble acknowledgment for the traditional lands of the people that we're on and the Cayuga people. Thank you. And we express gratitude for allowing us to be guests on your space today.
I'd also like to pay homage to the incredible black women who have come before me and who have paved the way for my work and what I'm going to speak on today. So I'd like to acknowledge them and their names. So Stacy Williams, Holly Smith, Lael Hughes, Andrea Jackson, Meredith Evans, and Katrina Jackson. I want to express thanks to them for the ability to make space for me.
So I'm especially excited to be here today because we are going to talk about this really excellent intersection between art and archives. And this is probably one of the singular grand concepts that I have struggled with since stepping into my role at the Carnegie Museum of Art back in spring of 2016.
So I would love to introduce you to my main squeeze. His name is Teenie Harris-- Charles Teenie Harris, to acknowledge him properly, was an African-American photographer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania born in 1908 to 1998 as you see before you. And he was a photographer and a photojournalist most popularly known for his work with the Pittsburgh Courier from about 1935 to about 1937.
And the Carnegie Museum of Art worked with Teenie directly and his family to acquire the work into the museum formally in 2001. And the collection includes not only the 80,000 photographic negatives that are predominantly acetate-based, there are a few nitrates, but it also includes a sampling of other materials that you see here. And we say a sampling because when you have a collection of 80,000 negatives, 3,000 other things you have to keep track of, you call them samplings. Like 750 prints, which we're very, very proud of.
And so every day, I look at these materials under my charge. And I make that very confused emoji face for anybody who has an iPhone, because are they fine art negatives?
Are they a photographic collection in an archive that is predominantly made up of photographic negatives? Are those two things the same? How are they different? Is one worthier than the other? I'm not really sure. But I think the easy answer is yes.
Of course, this collection is both at the same time, an art collection and an archive. But then I realize that that answer is only as easy as the English language is the ability to say it. In its functionality and in its execution, being an art collection and an archive is actually not that simple.
So when I look at-- so I thought we would start by looking at some of the basic tenets between art collections and art archive or archives in general. So we start with the idea of collections versus collections-- right. Good start. It gets better-- objects versus hierarchical systems, curated versus collected, which is where I'm going to spend the majority of our conversation and time today, but all of this really comes down to certain things have this inherent need to be displayed, to be expressed, to be shared, whereas some things have this inherent need to exist or to provide evidence. And those really come down to a difference in our conversation between purpose and intent.
So when I look at the Teenie Harris collection and think about our intent, I have come within my own brain to the following resolution and mission that I kind of made up for the archive when I got there. And that was that we are the stewards of a people's history, a people that are as diverse and expansive as any other community.
And this one just happens to be captured by a single artist in a single place in a single location in a very defined time frame. But we are not its gate keepers. Nor are we its curators in the traditional sense of a museum.
We do not exert our own intellectual interpretation onto the materials. We are simply and very humbly its stewards. We keep it physically and digitally preserved and safe. And we facilitate storytelling between the physical home within the museum and the community's memories outside of that space.
And this is important because it's very different from the intents of other archives. In most other photographic collections-- sorry. In most other photographic collections-- so Teenie Harris himself never really considered himself to be an artist. He saw himself just as this photojournalist working for the paper, a man on the beat capturing everyday life.
And while his impact and influence may have seemed small to him, it's almost impossible to look at the images that I'm going to show you today and not see the eye of a truly incredible artist. So where's the line between respecting the intention of the creator and the responsibility to shine a light on the magic that that creator created? So let's dive into it.
So the intersection between art and archives. Let's think about curators and archivists within museums as memory keepers. And I'm going to use that word a lot as it is a unified term between curators, museums, historians as memory keepers.
And what does that intersection look like? So to get our wheels churning, I thought I would tell you a story because I'm an archivist, but I'm also a storyteller.
So this cute little kid. A son was born in June of 1908 to Oga Taliaferro Harris in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And this child was named Charles and eventually got the nickname Teenie.
And actually as an aside, it's not in my note, but I think it's kind of funny. So Teenie got his nickname Teenie as a shortened version of Teenie Little Lover, which he got because he was a very affectionate child, and he would always go up to all the little like older ladies and aunties and be very affectionate. And one day someone says, well, he's just a Teenie little lover, and it kind of stuck. And then he was a grown man being called Teenie. Back to my notes.
So as more often than not, this still functionally illiterate actually child dropped out of school around the sixth or seventh grade, which was common at that time for African-American children in our city, to help his family out by working at the Masio Hotel. And he also ran numbers for his older brother Woogie. If you know what numbers running is, great. If not, I'm not going to tell you.
So struck by an early interest in photography, this young man was gifted his very first camera by his brother Woogie and begin selling images as a side hustle. I don't think they called it side hustles in the '20s, but I'm going to call it a side hustle. And he was selling images to Flash News Picture Magazine, which was based out of DC.
So he's taking pictures of everyday black folks living their everyday black lives, and this self-taught but divinely talented man with the camera is eventually picked up by the Pittsburgh Courier, first as a freelance photographer for many years and then as its primary staff photojournalist. And so simply, he goes from being able to build a career not knowing what he was building just by taking photographs of everyday people's lives on the streets.
So his typical day might look a little bit like this. This is going to be fast, so buckle up. So Harris is going to wake up in the morning and start his day by having breakfast with his family and five children-- count them five-- and he stops by the Courier office to pick up any assignments that he may have before heading off to, say, Miller elementary school to take some pictures of sixth graders. And then again he's going to meander his way over back to his studio to do a quick photo shoot of Mr. and Mrs. Bryant for their engagement. And on his way to his next stop, by early afternoon, he just happens to stop in the middle of the street to take a pitcher of water running down the sidewalk because it was beautiful.
And so it's early afternoon, and he's going to race downtown to take a picture of the mayor for some signing of something. And on his way back, he's got to get to the Hill District to take a picture of the Matrons Club, which is a women's organization in the city at the time, by four before the kids get out of school. And he needs to get back across town, and on his way, he's going to say hi to Mrs. Smith, who has been the crossing guard at-- that's Brushton and Frankstown-- for about 20 years or so. And they say hello on his way to Shinley High School to take a picture of some basketball players who are receiving scholarship and that pope photo is going to be in the paper-- in next week's paper.
So knowing that he probably needs to get home for dinner or else his wife Elsa is going to be a little annoyed, he jets back off to Homewood and stops by the side of the road to take another quick little picture of this overpass of Route 18 on his way just because just because. Granted like I said before, Teenie Harris doesn't consider himself to be an artist. He's just taking pictures.
So after dinner, putting the kids away, he's back out the door because he's got to get downtown because Nina's Simone is headlining at the Hilton Hotel, and he needs to get a quick couple of shots for the paper. And he works his way with the crowd into the Hill District because Max Roach has promised to play a set with the boys for a few hours at the Crawford Grille. No promises but they decided to show up anyway.
So you have a few more pictures here and a few more pictures there. But this is where it's going to get tricky because what Teenie's going to do is he's actually going to race back home to Homewood to develop a few sample prints, some very small pieces, really quickly so that he can get back to the bars to try and sell off a few before people start to leave around midnight or 2:00 AM.
So he gets back, and he gets in-- he sells off what he can, and he goes up to the gentleman and he says, hey, I'll give you $5 for a picture of you and your lady. And the guy being caught out with someone he had no need to be with says I'll give you $10 to get rid of it. Teenie'll take it.
So he sells off what he can, and he moves on with his day. And he heads back home again through the Hill District because he's going to get up in just a few hours to start this all over again. The end.
So is this story that I just elaborated through, is it a collection or a curation? This imaginary picture that I've painted for you, is it the verb archive by which I mean the action of archiving, or is it the noun archive by which I mean the thing called an archive? And this is-- the story is what it is.
The life and the life story of Charles Teenie Harris is fairly well documented through his own oral histories and through other oral histories of his children and of his community. And so the story is what it is. And I should point out that the images selected for this example are all from the collection, but they all come from about a decade. They're not actually going to be the same day, but that is what we've been told was his typical day.
And so-- but that's exactly my point. They are not--
Harris' photos have given us a breadth and a depth of materials that allow the memory keeper, myself, or the museum curator to create stories. And these stories not only illustrate the life of the artist but vividly have captured the life of the community in which the artists lived. However, the moment we take these moving, breathing, living experiences and frame them on a wall, we have simul-- they have simultaneously now been fixed as art, archive, and art archive all parts equally in all parts simultaneously at the same time.
And in contemplating this very omnidirectional status in regards to his own work, French photographer and sculptor Christian Boltanski offered this. Preventing forgetfulness, stopping the disappearance of things and beings seems to me a noble goal. But I quickly realized that this ambition was bound to fail, for as soon as we try to preserve something, we fix it. We can preserve things only by stopping its life course.
So if I put my glasses in a vitrine, they will never break, but will they still be considered glasses. Because once glasses are part of the museum's collection, they forget their function. They are then only an image of glasses. And in the vitrine, my glasses will have lost their reason for being, but they will have also lost their identity.
So in a similar note, one of my counterparts, Sue Brickell at the Tate Modern Archive, wrote that unlike the art collection, there is no imperative within the logic of an archive to actually display or interpret its holdings. An archive designates a territory and not a particular narrative. The material connections contained are not already authored as someone else's, for example, the curators or the archivists. They-- it's discursive. Interpretations are invited and not already determined.
So this quote, interpretations are invited and not already determined, was extraordinarily fascinating for me. That while I believe Brickell originally wrote this with the intent of an archive versus an art collection, I would like to offer a different perspective and that is the power of and. And it's actually here that I must pause and pay respect to my dear friend and mentor Candy Castleberry Singleton, who welcomed me into her Dignity and Respect Campaign in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a few years ago, and I had no idea at the time that the lessons that she had been teaching me about diversity and equity and inclusion and organizational leadership would eventually mature into my understanding of the collection and my understanding of reinterpreting art and archives to be multiple things in the same universe.
So if we grow this-- if we grow this principle and practice to the Teenie Harris mission that I shared with you earlier, it now reads as we are the stewards of a people's history where interpretations are welcomed and not already determined. Now all of a sudden we're opening ourselves up to the power of and the notion that we as the institution are not merely collecting objects but welcoming community interpretation and storytelling of those objects. And we are not attempting to collect communities, memories, or colonize them for our own benefit. We are welcoming the community to tell their own stories in the way that they wish them to be told. We allow them to use their own stories, their own standards, and their own vocabularies.
So I became an archivist because I believed above all else that the voices of marginalized groups in their stories mattered and that someone needed to ensure that all people's stories were elevated, protected, and heard. Because of their station in history making, archival documents can assume a distinguished position as simple truth. And that means that we implicitly tend to trust the evidence that we find in primary sources such as photographs and overlook the biased decision making of the memory keeper regarding which objects found a final resting place within the institution and which did not. And in the cases for which we've gathered here today, photography collections are curated into the art museum's context, and we need to ask ourselves who created the piece of historical evidence that you found and what was their position and perspective and whose perspective and positions did you not find or will never find.
So using the Teenie Harris archive as an example, we have been attempting to break down some of those long held traditional practices of institutional silencing, erasure, and colonialism and instead uplift the voice of a people's history. We do this by simply asking the community, as I said before, how they would wish to be remembered in recording their stories and their own standards and vocabularies. With the Teenie Harris archive, we value above all else the power of the collective memory to propel life and culture into contemporary relevance.
The beliefs and ideas that are held in common by many individuals together can produce a sense of shared solidarity and community. So by better understanding how museums and art-- how museum archival practices can either uplift some or silence others, I and many other colleague friends of mine, one who just happens to be here today, are working really hard to develop practices that contribute to culturally conscious, racially competent archival practices by thoughtfully applying as many, if not all, of these attributes as possible when working with historic materials. This critical look at how people are remembered is not possible when we ignore how privileges and biases are real aspects of memory keeping-- and, again, I'm using memory keeping to include both museum and archival practices-- and how privileges and biases can also create gaps in history making.
So you're probably sitting there thinking, Dominique, what does all of this have to do with curating photo archives? I'm getting there. So I would-- in order for us to get there, I have to situate myself.
So I am a black woman who works with a black artists collection in a predominantly white institution. And while my lived experiences are that of a black woman, they have almost always been in the context of predominantly white culture. And why is this important? Because cultural competency in archives and in museums and frankly in life begins with self-- the awareness of one's self. And this self-awareness situates itself on a spectrum. It's not a-- it's a continuum, not a fixed point. It is process oriented and emphasizes growth and continuing work.
I should be on the next slide. There we go.
So what does cultural competency have to do with curating photo archives? Absolutely everything. When we're talking about the noun archive, the photographs found in an archive collection can be just as biased and just as subjective as any other piece of art. Each photograph is embedded with not only the perspective of the artist that took the photograph but the artist's perspective on the subject that he or she is capturing.
Now if we look at the verb archive, we're talking-- and what we can talk about is what can happen when a lack of cultural competency might lead a memory keeper to overlook these intricacies and take the photograph at value or to apply their own academic understanding of the artist and the subject independent of a competent framework.
So if nothing else today, I would love to offer some things into your cultural practice. One is that culture can be a shared-- be the shared actions of groups people express daily that are the results of historically or socially transmitted customs and traditions. Two, competency refers to the ability-- refers to ability developed over time rather than any set of concrete skills and that attitudes and increasingly those that are recognized as core to cultural competency are those of curiosity, humility, open mindedness, respect, and tolerance.
Thus competency does not equate to cultural knowledge across all of the world cultures as it-- and it does not demand that one knows everything about all people. But rather the competent worker is sensitive to one's self and others and engages with others with humility and knows that cultural differences can be just as different as they are similar. Here I also offer acknowledgment to my colleague Ellen Engseth at the University of Minnesota for her diligent work in compiling years and years of cultural competent research into such a great framework.
So in the effort to practice what we preach, the Teenie Harris Archive operates a two-part curatorial output, one being archiving the noun and the other being archiving the verb. I also hope that you're getting the-- my pattern here about nouns and verbs. So let's start with the noun, the thing, the police.
Harris-- Teenie photographed everyday lives of African Americans in Pittsburgh as we've mentioned from the '30s to about the '80s actually and pictured what I now know to be about a quarter of a million people and individuals, families living in these communities. And a lot of these people that are documented are very real and very much have something to say. It's basically an 80,000-image family photo album.
And when Teenie-- and when the archive was established in 2001, the collection arrived at the museum in a disarray of boxes with little to no knowledge transfer. Nothing was cataloged or documented. So Teenie Harris knew who everyone was and where everything was, but that means nothing to me as the archivist 20, 30 years later. I have no record of who was who and what. And over time cataloging technicians and archivists could recognize big figures like Martin Luther King or Muhammad Ali or Jackie Robinson, but the everyday people have been lost or silenced through this process.
So the crux of my job and the crux of our staff's job is stewardship, and the stewardship is to restore those names and identities back to the individuals whose stories they came from in the first place. We directly-- we work directly with personal knowledge and lived experiences to inform us of what the images are showing. So simply put, how do we institute cultural competency in our collection? We ask. And at this point, I'm actually going to share with you a small sample of what we receive in return.
SPEAKER 1: Like that-- get down on one knee and maybe adjust my blouse or adjust my clothing or something on me and he would make sure I understood that this was going to take one shot and so don't move when he said he's ready. I just loved Teenie. He broke the monotony of sometimes what was happening for a child sometimes standing there hour after hour or for a long time. When Teenie came in, things seemed to get fun and seemed to go faster.
And so he'd take the picture, and then he'd pop the ball out of the camera. And it would be hot. And he'd catch it, and he'd blow on it. And he'd always ask my mom or my dad if they were there is it OK if I give her this, and he'd give me the ball. And just as soon as he had swept in and rearranged things and done all of this, he was out the door.
DOMINIQUE LUSTER: So I hope that gives you a minute-long sample of about the I don't know 350-ish hours of oral history that is a part of our collection. And so what we do is we invite members in, and we go through stacks and stacks and stacks of photos. And we pin them up and we put them together and we say where did you go to school. Where did you go to church?
Where did you-- where did your mom work? And we start by what they know. And then one photo-- and then they say, oh, well, that's Susie who went to there, and then we keep moving so that we add names and dates and faces from the people who were there.
So the other side of our two part curatorial output is our exhibitions program. And beginning in 2013, Carnegie Museum embarked on a very unique community curatorial model that presents a small rotating exhibit-- a small set of rotating exhibitions of about 25 prints. Well, they're exhibition prints from the scans from the negatives.
And these happened about twice a year. And typically in these exhibition projects, the archive staff will bring in an equal curatorial partner as a guest curator. And these are going to be content experts who add their own lived experiences to the historic and academic understanding of the archive and the archive staff.
And so we as the staff will start with a big idea. We will start with a narrative or a concept, and then we work with the community directly as guest curators to narrow that down. And that process can include everything from finiting that big idea into something smaller to image selection to culturally competent language that is respectful for our wall labels and everything in the middle.
So as a special part of my own heart, I'd like to show you a few examples of some of my most cherished people. Most recently, an exhibition project that I curated was about African-American troops in World War II. As the daughter of an army staff sergeant and as the Teenie Harris Archive, I already walked into the room with two points of perspectives about how I'd like to tell this story.
But then I had the opportunity to work with 92-year-old Mr. Boyer, who was a master sergeant-- excuse me. He was the one of the youngest African-American master sergeants out of Pennsylvania at 27, served in World War II in a segregated troop, and also with 35-year-old former Staff Sergeant Eugene Boyer, both Pittsburghers. So they have both that Teenie Harris Pittsburgh point of view, and they understand what it's like to be a black soldier in America both today and in Mr. Boyer's case during World War II.
So not only does this bring a different richness to the exhibition, but it literally brings our projects to life because we look at the photographs, a hand-colored print of a soldier's portrait, and it's no longer just a soldier's portrait. It's Mr. Boyer's soldier's portrait. And that changes the game entirely.
So something that Mr. Boyer said to me-- actually Mr. Boyd is 93 now. We just had a birthday party a couple weeks ago, and it was really fun.
So something that he said to me very, very early in the curatorial apartment that I have never been able to shake-- we don't have it really written down anymore. It's just locked in my memory. He said something to the effect of during World War II, this country was segregated. And if you were a black draftee, in most cases, you were sent to the South to be trained, and your officers were mostly white and mostly southern. And they were picked because of their southern background because it was assumed that they knew how to handle us.
So there were often times during the war where the enemy was nicer to you than the person that commanded you. And I've never been able to shake that in the time that we worked together to develop-- this is one of the images from the exhibition. This is actually the image that we close the exhibition with.
And so things like that add a whole new dynamic to our work. And if that experience could possibly be tied, it would be with the extraordinary humbling experience I had to work with Dr. Geri Allen who became a really, really important mentor to me personally and professionally. She's a world-renowned jazz musician pianist and has performed pretty much everywhere that you could think of. And so she came into the room with her jazz knowledge, and I came into the room with my archive knowledge. And together we forged a mission to tell the story of the Hill District in Pittsburgh as the epicenter of black music in jazz that was happening in the '30s, '40s, and '50s. Errol Garner, Leroy Brown, you name them, they're playing in Pittsburgh, particularly in the Hill District.
And as a part of the show, Geri wrote the following narrative that I'll read for you now is that only the most trusted insiders would have been invited and welcomed to be participants and witnesses to the jazz community. And through Teenie Harris's lens, we witness the camaraderie and the joy of life that these artists felt during the golden age of jazz as it transitioned from swing to bebop. There she is particularly making a reference to Errol Garner.
This show is about the joy that these musicians shared in playing together. There was an undeniable energy and experience revealed by the photographs. These legendary spaces in the Hill District where creative homes to the musicians and the audience. You get the feeling of the times, this sense of freedom and exploration these men and women experienced inside these venues. The beauty here is that we are participants, too, from the insider's perspective of Teenie Harris's photographs.
So with all of that being said, we attempt to use the idea of counter storytelling as a method to actually disrupt and democratized dominant narratives where the people tell their own stories through established institutions rather than the institution telling people how to think about themselves. We try to think really critically about Teenie's original intentions and purpose with dignity and respect and balance that with our intentions when we're displaying this exact same images. We don't have the authority to tell those stories, but we can do is do all the research that we can and find the most appropriate people to tell those stories in our spaces.
In our exhibitions, the photographic archival materials are and both the sum of their parts and separate all in the same space. Teenie and the people that he photographed are at the same time the greatest evidence of mid-20th century black life, and Teenie Harris is one of the most extraordinary black photographers. But I'm also biased. I come to the stage that way.
And since those individuals, people, and stories still have the ability to speak for themselves, the best thing that we can do is step out of their way into listen and to allow them space to be heard. We should let them. We are simply and humbly stewards of a people's history where interpretations are welcomed and not already determined. Thank you.
SPEAKER 1: That was a lot to digest. And I'm sure we have lots of questions for Dominique, but we're going to actually hear next from Pauline Vermeer, and then we will have a longer question and answer session with both of them. So hold those thoughts please.
Pauline Vermare is a photography curator who's been working for about 20 years in various archives. Starting in Paris, she worked for Magnum Photo and then became associated with the Fondation Henri-Cartier Bresson.
Where she worked from 2002 to 2009. She then came to these shores and worked at ICP as a curator working on a Robert Capa project having to do with a suitcase she will tell you about I hope. And then currently is the cultural director at magnum photos where she is working on a number of interesting projects, some of which are unprecedented in terms of what we might know about Magnum Photo Agency in the past.
She's working with a number of photographers' archives currently including Bruce Gilden and Susan Meiselas's, and she sits on the board of the Saul Leiter Foundation, which we'll talk about that. In any case, she has a lot to tell us about working with pictures that were taken for one reason, which is they were in the part of Magnum Photo's photojournalistic enterprise, and they now exist in another form and for other reasons. Pauline Vollmer
PAULINE VERMARE: This slide. Yes, sorry. Slide show.
That's not the beginning, yeah. You want to go to-- but that's not the beginning. Sorry. That's OK.
So sorry. Thank you so much. Thank you.
Hello, everybody. Thank you for being here. Thank you so much for this invitation. Thank you particularly to Andy Greenberg and Kate, Adam and Frenkel. It is an honor to be here. It's a very exciting day to talk about archives and the uses of the archive.
With this invitation, it occurred to me that I had been working with archives for 20 years first as Andy said for Magnum in Paris and then the Cartier-Bresson Foundation. Then I moved here to work at MoMA on the Cartier-Bresson introspective and then Capa archive and now Magnum, and this all seem to be, in fact, one and the same thing, which I am now doing for Magnum Photos New York in a sense that I am working for the legacy of the work that Magnum photographers have been producing since the '30s.
I will define what Magnum is. It is to me-- my background is political science and humanities, and so I look at Magnum from a cultural, historical, and political perspective. Magnum is a collective of journalists, artists, anthropologists, sociologists, ethnographers, philosophers, poets working with a camera who have composed a unique and invaluable archive encompassing over 70 years of history.
What matters to me first and foremost working as the cultural director for Magnum here in New York is along with the production of new bodies of work, of course, because Magnum photographers are still very much producing work. What matters to me is the archives legacy, that is the life and impact of the artist's work while they are working and after all they are gone. So today we'll discuss the nature and the uses of the Magnum archive based on collective and individual exhibitions and publications in various projects.
I'd like to start with this quote that I like very much by Geoff Dyer defining the Magnum archive. Magnum photographers traditionally work between journalism, activism, and art by showcasing various reasons cultural project collective individual that stem from the archive and try to shine a light on the incredible historical and artistic wealth of the archive working in the US with various institutions such as the United Nations, SF MoMA, or the JCC in Manhattan so very different kinds of institution to very much as what Dominique was talking about now, different readings on the one archive to make sure that every aspect of the nature of the archive is covered and exemplified.
So first I am going to define what is the Magnum archive. There is in fact no Magnum archive. There are many Magnum archives. And so you have here a list of everything that composes what we could call I guess a Magnum archive.
First of all the Magnum photos offices in New York, Paris, London, and Tokyo-- and here I should define-- a little-- just tell you a little bit about the story of Magnum. Magnum Photos was created in 1947 between Paris and New York by four photographers-- Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, "Chim," also known as David Seymour, and George Rodger. The idea of Magnum really had been born during the '30s in Paris and during the Spanish Civil War, and the radical idea for Magnum for this group of photographers was to protect themselves and to protect their copyright.
It's really-- the invention of Magnum-- is the creation of Magnum is the invention of copyright in photography. That is that if you send your negatives to a newspaper, which is pretty much what they did uniquely in the time-- photography was not art. It was a craft. And it was certainly documentation-- then by creating the copyright, you would-- you still own your photograph. The newspaper you sent your negatives to did not own it.
So the Magnum offices is one place-- those four offices but mostly New York, Paris and London-- where a lot of the archive-- the Magnum archive is. This is the group of photographers that is represented today by Magnum. It's about 96 photographers including so living photographers in this state. I'm sure you recognize many of them.
The newer members-- the young nominees include Sim Chi Yin, Lua Ribeira, or Gregory Halpern. These were the last photographers to become nominees, so it's a process. It's a bit of a-- it's a co-operative. Magnum Photos is a co-operative, which means that photographers join the agency by cooptation, so they are invited by the Magnum photographers.
Every year in June, there was a meeting in New York, London, or Paris as rotation, and so they look at portfolios. It's now becoming a little more-- there's a-- you can submit, and it's becoming more structured in a sense.
So this is the office, the Magnum New York office. We are surrounded with history. These are all contact sheets, which is incredible. So you can come. Please come and see us. Researchers can come and have a precise request, working on a show or on a book, and they can just browse the notebooks we also have.
And so this is an example I-- so this is Dennis Stock's work on James Dean. This would be a contact sheet you would find in the archive. And so now since the early 2000, end of the 19s and early 2000s, most of the material has been digitized, which means you can find photographs now online.
We have about 600,000, 700,000 images online available, so that's, of course, a great tool for researchers who want to look into the archive of Magnum. You can look by photographer. You can look by theme, by personality, by region. It's quite a mine.
So then so you have the Magnum offices, and you have the Magnum Foundation. So the Magnum Foundation was created at the time of the 60th anniversary of Magnum that was 2007 when some of the photographers including Susan Meiselas and Gilles Peress decided that it was about time to find ways to support the agency by other means and that is maybe working with more-- with closely with NGOs and non for profits and becoming a one for profit, or at least having an arm that is non for profit, it would be easier to preserve the archive and the legacy of the agency.
So every photographer gave $500, and that was end and prints, and the collection started with so books but mostly tear sheets like I'm showing here. So hundreds of thousands of tear sheets, which means that where the photographs were published at the time-- this is an example of Elliot Erwitt's tear sheets that I used to include in a show at ICP at the time. In 2011, we did a show, and this is such precious material for exhibitions because I've always found that the cases were where the life of the artist was notebooks, ephemera, correspondence, all sorts of things that are not on the walls. So not what is the art but what came with it.
A big piece of the New York office archive-- so 200,000 prints in 2009, went to the Ransom Center. And interestingly enough at the time, they called it the Magnum Archive. So, in fact, Allison Nordstrom wrote a beautiful piece "On Becoming an Archive" in this book Reading Magnum that I encourage you to read if you're interested in that big move that was quite a revolution because first of all, it brought a lot of money into Magnum that was-- that needed that to move forward. So that was a beautiful way to live in a university collection without losing so much because of costs. There are many, many prints, and we see in the artist studios as well. But a beautiful way to-- a repository of the history of Magnum is now at the Ransom Center.
So all of the above so Magnum Photos, Magnum Foundation, the artist studios, of course, the living artist have their own studios-- Bruce Davidson, Elliott Erwitt, Gilles Peress, and so on, Susan Meiselas have that work own their own studio. They have their negatives. They have their prints.
So if a researcher wants to produce a show, where is he going to look? Where is he going to go to find a print by such and such Magnum photographer?
Ryan Buckley, who is the archivist of the Magnum Foundation, came up with this incredible platform called the Magnum Consortium where you can look up any Magnum photographer, and you will find where prints are [INAUDIBLE] for anyone. So estates or living artists, which is a fantastic tool that I encourage-- yes, Katie. So it's great because you can get your own log in.
So if, for instance, you wanted to say we have Richard Kalvar prints and Gilles Peress' prints, you could then-- and tell them here and that adds to the common knowledge. That's pretty good. So soon this will be integrated onto the Magnum website.
So today, we'd like to talk about projects that stem from the archive. So what becomes-- how is the archive used? How is it looked at? And how do we go about?
So this would be-- I start with projects where we, Magnum Photos, invited curators or historians or, in this case, Spike Lee to come into the archive and mine the archive and look. So Spike Lee-- that's 2005-- was interested in looking into black America in the Magnum Archive. That's his brother here, David, with Matt Murphy, wonderful archivist in Magnum New York. So all a range of not only curators but really a great array of people interested in photography and who'd like to know what's in the archive.
This is another example in London, in fact, in Brighton at the Brighton biennial in 2014 where three-- one curator, one photographer were invited to look in to the archive and to write their own history through the Magnum Archive. And there is an interesting comment I'd like to make and that we talked about it with Andy and about previous shows.
The distinction, of course, at Magnum is very strong between the collective and the individual in terms of the agency but also in terms of the images. You show one images-- one strong image or the use of the whole series, the whole distro as we call it. So that's always been a bit of attention, and many people have different opinions about what actually matters. Is it the one isolated image, or is it the series?
So that was a beautiful project that Kristen Lubben was invited to participate in. At the time, she was an ICP curator. She was asked to look into the contact sheets of the photographers, which is an interesting thing, the contact sheets. Cartier-Bresson famously hated when people looked into his contact sheets. He said it was the garbage of the photographer.
But Peter Galassi or Michel Fraser in France did beautiful readings, in fact, of Cartier-Bresson contact sheets. So some curators were allowed in the notebooks. So this was a case of choosing one contact sheet by photographer, the photographer telling the story of-- so in this case René Burri and Che Guevara, the story of the-- the story of the story. And there's something quite moving about contact sheets also because now with the digital, it becomes-- it's an object that pretty much doesn't exist or less and less.
Slide-- so this is Tiananmen Square by Stuart Franklin. That was another story in the book.
Then for the 70th year anniversary of Magnum Photos, Magnum invited Clement Cheroux at the time at Pompidou, now at San Francisco MoMA to curate, also to mine the archive in total freedom carte blanche to look into the archive and make his own book and exhibition. This is the show at ICP. This is Clement Cheroux to the right and Clara Bouveresse was also very instrumental in this show. She had been mining the archive traveling throughout the world to look at all the archives that I was talking about before to write her own a history of Magnum Photos. That is fantastic book that I hope you will read.
So this is an example of one take-- one outsider coming into the archive and reading the archive and unearthing treasures from the archive. This is a series by Richard Kalvar, who is a Cornell alumni as a matter of fact. This is a series done in the subway of Boston, a politician greeting every single person coming down the stairs. It's a very funny one, and so it's interesting to see that this is one that Clement Cheroux isolated from the rest and decided to really highlight.
And this is what is really interesting. When you have curators, historians, anyone come into the archive to see what they are going to-- what is it that they're going to pick, what is going to make them-- what's going to interest them. In fact, in Magnum Manifesto, another highlight of the show that I thought-- and that has been not forgotten but maybe-- yeah, a little bit forgotten I guess-- was by Charles Harbutt, who left Magnum in 1981 and who made this incredible book in 1968 called American Crisis.
And his son, Charles Harbutt, Jr, created this incredible installation. It's a bandit. It's called The Bandit. So this is something that Charles Harbutt had found on the parking lot, this little-- this casino machine, and he wired it into three carousel-- three slide projectors.
And if you got this one image of Nixon, it was a mask of Nixon with a dollar sign on it. If-- and that was the only slide that was in every three of the carousel. If you got it, you got free entrance to the show. You were reimbursed.
And so the Magnum Foundation, in fact, gave the funds to restore the machine, and that was at ICP. And it was really a fantastic insert. Nobody got the three Nixon masks, but it was really-- it was really good and, of course, a very important and timely series.
So then you have the curators who asked to come and mine the archive. In this case, Max Kozloff came and wanted to do a book about New Yorkers from the Magnum Archive and did this beautiful book. And this must be the last project that was based on the physical archive. Max really looked into the prints and the boxes and contact sheets. He didn't look at-- into the database.
This was a beautiful show in Paris also for the 70th year curated by Diane Dufour, a former head of Magnum Paris, now head and founder of Le Bal, which is a very experimental and edgy and incredible space in Paris. And so she decided to show a series of distros, so a series-- working on the series sent to the press. It's called Analog Recovery because right after the Ransom Center acquisition, the Paris office also started looking into their press prints that at the time of the press were not valuable at all and then suddenly became valuable and tried to gather everything that had been dispersed in the agencies, the agents in Germany, et cetera in Europe, get them all back. And so from that collection stemmed this beautiful show. So series by, as you can see here, [INAUDIBLE].
And an accompanying book that was really very, very ambitious and very impressive.
So this is a show that we just did with the JCC in Manhattan called Protest, where Beth Benjamin, the curator, came into the archive and once again looked into images of protest in the US since the 1940s. And that-- these kinds of projects are very important to us because museums, of course, beautiful monographic or collective exhibitions in museums like SF MoMA, MoMA of course very important, but these smaller shows in community centers-- JCC's a community center-- are very important because of the educational value that they carry, the questions that they are going to ask to a younger group of people, not photo people, in fact, people who probably have never really seen a photograph or been confronted to a photograph. And the conversation that stem from-- sorry-- from this show are particularly interesting I think to me for the future. I really want to do more and more shows with those kinds of smaller activist centers as well as museum as we talked about it but university museums where you can really build a curriculum around the archive.
So this is a project by Abigail Heyman that was born from an accident where Clara Bouveresse was looking into the Magnum Archive to write her book about Magnum Photos and stumbled onto boxes that were still there a little bit by chance. So the son of Abigail Heyman was-- sorry, I'll leap to this one-- was-- had asked the Magnum Foundation if he could store his mother's archive there. So he did. And so Abigail Heyman was Magnum until also the '80s.
Many photographers-- in fact, you realize many famous photographers-- Susan Meiselas, et cetera, they've been at Magnum for a long time. But some of them went-- came and went. So, for instance, Sebastiao Salgado was Magnum at some point. James Nachtwey-- anyway, it's a pretty interesting group of names that you find in the Magnum Foundation Archive that you wouldn't find in the Magnum Archive. Papers related to Ansel Adams, Don Mckellen, anyway. So that's a digression but important in the case of Abigail Heyman because that discover in the Magnum Foundation papers allowed for an upcoming show in Arles that will open so in July in France curated by Clara Bouveresse, which is-- which will be Women Before and Behind the Lens, a show of Eva Arnold, Susan Meiselas, and Abigail Heyman's work so three Magnum photographers. That should be really, really good.
And so Magnum Photos offices in Paris and London also have their own galleries and so curator-run shows as well from their archive often juxtaposing the archive and the newer generation of photographers. In this case, Susan Meiselas had a big show at the Jeu de Paume in Paris last year and asked if it would be possible to organize a show of older female photographers at Magnum, which was called Magnum Brava. So this is Inge Morath's work, The Masks of Saul Steinberg. We're actually going to organize a show in a year or so juxtaposing Inge Morath's work with Steinberg's work together. Susan Meiselas, Olivia Arthur, Newsha Tavakolian, Carolyn Drake.
And so the collective is one thing, and then you have the individual archives that are also very important and that we work from continuously. First of all, you have the estates, and then you have, of course, the living artists archives. So I start with estates, and the Henri Cartier-Bresson estate in Paris, the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, and the shows that they have produced from their archives. So the first one they did Cartier-Bresson did not want the Cartier-Bresson Foundation to be a mausoleum with his name on it, and it was very clear from the get go the foundation was created in 2003. He was still alive and very happy that the foundation was being created but really didn't want it to be a mausoleum.
So the first show that we organized there was the portraits show so portraits by Cartier-Bresson drawn from the archive including Truman Capote, Matisse, and Édith Piaf. And then another show that we did from their collections that was quite striking was the Scrapbook. Maybe some of you got to see that ICP because it then traveled to ICP in 2006 or 2007. So this was an interesting story. The MoMA thought in 1946 that Cartier-Bresson had died during the war because he was taken prisoners, and so they were organizing a posthumous exhibition of his.
And so Chim, who is David Seymour, who is here at the time, called his friend and said you know what. The MoMA's organizing a posthumous exhibition of yours. Maybe you should come. And so he came. So Cartier-Bresson-- and so he printed those tiny little prints to show Beaumont Newhall, and this is what was shown at the Cartier-Bresson Foundation.
So it was not quite easy to show those small prints. They were-- and you see them in the back actually and here. So that's the scrapbook that was an original page of the scrapbook you see. That's the Matisse page. But it was a beautiful story to tell and certainly a beautiful object to show.
And here again you can see those cases. I really have a passion for vitrines. I think this is where the life of the show often is.
So then I moved here to work on this show with Peter Galassi, The Modern Century. It was about 350 prints, two thirds of which were coming from the Cartier-Bresson Foundation. So it was really a show. It was the archive outside of the walls. And it was a big exhibition. Maybe some of you saw it.
What I think-- that was the book-- what I think was the most important part of the show was the research that was made in the archive of the Cartier-Bresson Foundation from the letters, from the notebooks, from everything that was available-- made available by the Cartier-Bresson Foundation that allowed for this back matter, which was a chronology of Cartier-Bresson's travels that allowed for those incredible maps that were drawn by a cartographer for the occasion. In fact, Dan Lear is a colleague of Dominique, worked-- we worked all together to establish this list that I think for researchers are very important. It was quite groundbreaking at the time. So thanks to the archive.
Then Robert Capa is-- his archives at ICP. The ICP was founded in 1974 by Cornell Capa, the brother of Robert Capa. And so that's an interesting story. As you can see, the archive of Magnum is often the story of a box or a suitcase. And you'll see that as more come in, but the Mexican suitcase might be the most famous of them.
So in the Spanish Civil War, Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and Chim went to photograph the fight of the Republicans-- Spanish Republicans. The rolls negatives were thought lost after '39 when Capa and Chim were so-- Gerda Taro died in the war in 1937-- Chim and Capa went to the US, and nobody knew where those negatives were, the negatives of the Spanish Civil War. But Cornell Capa was really-- he knew-- he was convinced that they were somewhere.
Holes were dug in gardens. There were-- maybe it was here or maybe it was there, and suddenly one day in the '90s this man Ben Tarver called from Mexico City and says I just found three boxes in a plastic bag in my mom's closet, and I believe they might be Capa-- Capa related. And so after a little bit of a negotiation, of course, it was in Mexico City. We did go to New York.
The negatives were trusted with the ICP with the Capa archive, and long work of digitization was made on 4,500 negatives. It was for-- it was-- you can see in the box here three boxes with rolls of negative. Some of them were individual strips. Some of them were rolls. And as you can see here, the little cases, that was-- it was really incredibly organized by the assistant of Capa at the time, who it turned out took a bicycle down to the south of France to take a boat from Marseilles with the boxes in his rucksack and then took a boat to Mexico City. His name was Chiki Weisz, and that's how they ended up in Mexico City for the longest time. And the miracle is that they were beautifully preserved, not to say that should set an example for preservation, but it's quite remarkable that they were mostly untouched.
So this is the show at ICP. Again, the vitrines-- the publications were very important in the show, and so Cynthia Young, the curator of the show and the head of the Capa archive, struggled at first. How do you show this? How do you show three boxes? What's the exhibition? What's the book?
And so it ended up being pretty much contact sheets with a few vintage and modern prints next to them to just look into the stories. And they were, as you can see, displayed by story chronologically.
So Steidl published the book in two volumes. It's a goldmine for anyone who's interested in the Spanish Civil War. It then traveled to France and to Spain, and what was very interesting was that-- that's the French poster-- the reception in America was not at all the same, of course, as the reception-- the emotions in France and Spain discovering all these photograph. People saw their grandparents. They saw their family. They saw the story that they had inherited.
Many of the Republican refugees fled to France, were not very well welcomed. In fact, the story repeats itself. So what you see here on the poster is the French police with the refugees on the beach in '39, the [INAUDIBLE]. But what was incredible with the Spanish-- with The Mexican Suitcase is that something that a work that was produced at the time mostly for-- it was an activism gesture on the part of Capa and Chim and Taro. They were there to defend the Republicans, but the French and British government had totally abandoned. They didn't want to take side. Was not their fight. Whereas the fascists Germany and Italy were clearly defending and supporting Franco's troops.
So Capa and Chim and Taro were there as-- it was not propaganda, although I guess it could be seen as such, but they really wanted to raise awareness and make things change. And then it became a show in a museum 70 years later. So that's what we're talking about and not in a precious way. Of course, this show is not about it being art. It was about it being memory and history. And I think that's a very interesting point. That shift is very important.
Another show that we did at ICP was Capa in Color, much lighter when Capa decided to stop for the war. So after the Second World War, he switched to color. And that was a beautiful show and book. That's Picasso with his son Claude in the south of France. And that's an interesting thing in terms of preservation. The Kodachromes were totally fine. The colors had remained just as they were in the '50s. But the ektachrome had totally shifted. So this is an example of color correction that we had to do for the show. To the left is the ektachrome slide as it had become-- this is Moscow-- and then color corrected to the right.
So Capa's voice, I don't know if I have time to play this, but Capa's voice was only heard by a few survivors now. Elliott Erwitt remembers the voice. Inge Bondi, the cousin of Capa. But there was no recording of keep his voice in existence, and, of course, oral history is very important, too. You have the papers, you have the prints, but what about the video and the audio recording?
And so Brian Wallace, the chief curator of ICP at the time, who is an incredible collector found things on the internet all the time, one day finds this acetate recording so a record-- how do you call it? The disk-- a long-- anyway recording available in Seattle. Someone in Seattle has this object that we have been looking-- we being the collective Magnum people always looking for traces of history-- forever. Some photographers, in fact, Tomas Balzac had been looking for recordings in Ukraine and Russia, thinking maybe when Capa went with Steinberg, he had been spied on and maybe we could hear that voice. Everybody was looking for Capa's voice.
And then finally we find this. And so I went to WNYC, who have an incredible archive, and they were able to digitize it for us. And so we finally-- I'll try to play a little bit of it for you, Capa's voice. And the extract that I chose for today is when he talks about the famous fallen soldier, when he photographed it.
- You see, this is a cagey question, because you never know if you had a prize picture or not. Because when you shoot, nearly every picture is the same to you. And the best picture is born in the imagination of editors and public who sees them. I had once one picture which was appreciated much more than the older ones, and I certainly did not know when I shot it that it was especially a good picture.
It happened in Spain. It was very much in the beginning of my career as a photographer and very much at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. The war was kind of romantic if you can see anything like that.
- No I can't.
- It was there that it was in Andalusia, and those people were very green. They were not soldiers. They were dying every minute with great gestures. And I think that was really for liberty, the right kind of fight-- and truth.
And I was there in the trench with about 20 milicianos, and those 20 milicianos had 20 old rifles. And on other hill facing us was a Franco machine gun. So my milicianos went shooting in the direction of that machine gun for five minutes and then stood up and said vamonos, get out from the trench, and began to go after that machine gun. Sure enough, the machine gun opened up and moved them down.
So what was left of them came back and again take potshots in the direction of the machine gun. He certainly was clever enough not to answer. And after five minutes, again I say vamonos, and they got moved on again.
This thing repeated itself about three or four times, so the fourth time, I just put my camera above my head and even didn't look and clicked a picture when they moved over the trench. And that was all. I didn't develop my pictures there. I sent my pictures back with lots of other pictures. But I took-- I stayed in Spain for three months, and when I came back, I was a very famous photographer because that camera which I hold above my head just got a man at the moment when he was shot.
- That was a great picture.
- That was probably the best picture I ever took. I never saw-- I've never saw the picture in that frame because a camera was far above my head.
- Because there's one condition that you've got to create yourself, Bob, in order to get a lucky picture like that, you got to spend a lot of time in trenches.
- Yeah, this habit I would like to lose.
- Yeah. I remember saying--
PAULINE VERMARE: So that was a beautiful discovery. So I'm not sure where-- oh, here I am--
So Chim, David Seymour, is less-- is-- sorry, Chim is less well-known than Capa and Cartier-Bresson. He also died young. So Capa died in '54 in Indochina. Chim died in '56 in the sewers during the Suez Crisis in Egypt.
When we organized the show in 2013 at ICP, there was also a case of great discovery, which was this is Picasso in front of Guernica in 1937 in Paris in his studio. Ben Schneiderman, the nephew of Chim-- in fact, I'll quote him because it's a pretty funny story, another crazy rediscovery.
So he explained to me, we had a family farm with 20,000 chicken in Flemington, New Jersey, since '51 with my oldest cousin living and working there while raising his family. We used to come out most weekends, and for the summer, as I grew up shoveling manure, collecting eggs, and tending our larger garden, my mother must have brought the box of Chim's slides I think Kodachromes and ektachromes and maybe some negatives to the farm.
The box got put away in the attic 'til it was being sold about six years ago. My younger cousins found the box and contacted me. I contacted Cynthia, who drove out to Flemington to pick them up so they could join ICP's collection of Chim material. It was quite amazing to see this large connection, which revealed new aspects of Chim's work, especially from the Normandy beaches. I was fascinated to watch them on the computer display during the show.
So this would be one of the slides that we collected from a barn in New Jersey at just about three weeks before the opening of the show. So we projected them in a slide show in the exhibition. This is another one. Yeah, these were spectacular. And the colors were-- it must have been Kodachromes because we didn't need to do any retouching.
So now I will talk about the artists who are-- the Magnum artists who are living today and who are somewhat obsessed with the idea of the archive. Many of the younger generation, Mikhael Subotzky, Diana [INAUDIBLE], Sim Chi Yin are pretty much working with archives. But here I would like to emphasize on Susan Meiselas and Gilles Peress because as Susan Meiselas put it when I saw her this week, they have a longitudinal relationship to space and to places, and the archive is a place for them to revisit those places. In the case of Susan Meiselas, Nicaragua, in the case of [INAUDIBLE] Northern Ireland.
So Susan Meiselas has a studio in Soho in New York, and this is from her archive that the huge show that some of you might have seen in the San Francisco MoMA that started at the Jeu de Paume was produced. This would be one of her earlier photographs, double exposure self-portrait in Boston.
Carnival strippers and that's the Nicaragua series that has been developed over time and that Susan has been revisiting since. She's still developing the subject and very much feeling for the situation-- the current political situation still in Nicaragua.
This is an install shot in Barcelona where the show originated from, and that is another series that Susan Meiselas has been famous for as the Kurdistan series, which is interestingly enough building an archive for someone else, so curating an archive that is not hers but that of the Kurdish diaspora that she has been working on for five full years in the '90s and 2000s and still working on as she goes and exhibits in those big museums, too. So again the cases, the vitrines, as repositories of very important information and context.
Gilles Peress' Northern Ireland archive, as I call it the most famous book that never was but should be at the end of the year published by Steidl. So Gilles Peress is French. She's a philosopher. Susan Meiselas is an anthropologist I should point out.
Gilles Peress studied philosophy and very much work as such. And so he's been working in Northern Ireland from the early '70s to today really but to the '90s more intensively. He's famous for-- so what I'm showing to you now is the Bloody Sunday photographs.
So he was-- Gilles Peress was in Bloody Sunday. He was in Derry for Bloody Sunday. Of course, he was not there knowing that this would happen. He was there to cover a march that became a massacre when the British army opened the fire onto the pacifist marchers. And his photographs became evidence, evidence that the people that the army shot were, in fact, not armed whereas the British army claimed that they had shot because they were armed.
So this became-- that would be the deposition of Gilles Peress of Magnum Photos at the trials. There have been two trials, one that was quite whitewashing and then the last one, 2008, where finally the responsibility of the British army was recognized. But so it's interesting because Gilles Peress is very much interested in forensic evidence and long-term-- certain long-term projects.
And this is his studio, a few of the mockups that have been made since the '80s and it is a very interesting thing. And, in fact, I'll quote him. He says to me behind the obsession of the archives is a fundamental anxiety, not only the anxiety of forgetting but also the anxiety of finding ourselves in a world of fragments, which do not adapt to culture. Without an archive you cannot structural knowledge.
And here he make a clear distinction-- he makes a clear distinction between the analog and the digital. To him, there is no possibility of structure in the digital. It is infinite whereas the analog and the objects, you can structure your thoughts and your ideas upon. And I think that might be why the book keeps on being worked on because it's his garden, as [INAUDIBLE] was putting it. He's been working on this archive for so long.
The book should come out-- no, no, it's-- it is supposed to come out in the end of the year. Steidl is-- they have the scans, everything is ready, and hopefully it will come out. And if it doesn't come out, maybe one day there'll be a book about, which I think would be really interesting, the history of all the mockups. And the-- because it's a process. Really, Gilles Peress is all about the process and the intellectual wanderings of the philosopher, of the artist, photographer. That would be his color work which is another mockup for another time, the color work in Ireland.
Another found box, Bruce Gilden recently moved and found photos that he had never seen himself. And they are incredible. And so we looked at them together, and we thought that may be Xavier Barral would be a great publisher for them, who was a French-- sadly passed away a few weeks ago. It's a tragic loss but-- so Xavier Barral is publishing the book that will come out in the fall, and the show will be organized as well. So photos of New York in the '70s, '80s, interestingly enough, most of them are horizontal, which is very unlike Bruce Gilden's-- he's famous for his vertical flash and these are mostly not flash and except for this one I guess, night that one.
But anyway so this is another case of case. And I'd like to end this presentation with a story that I think is very important, and I will quote most of-- I'm going to read to you from an article that was published on the Magnum Photos website.
So the Ernest Cole archive just was uncovered, rediscovered, and is now being represented by Magnum Photos. And I think it's an interesting case of what is the Magnum Archive, and it is expanding. So you have the estates, and you have the current members and the current-- the contemporary work. But you also have archives that are now being-- it's not like it's something that happens a lot but in this case, very importantly, an addition to the archive. So it's three suitcases of negatives that are being digitized in Magnum London now.
Ernest Cole is a South African photographer who is well known to some but mostly disappeared in the '90s. So I'm going to read you an extract of an essay called "The Power and Impact of Ernest Cole's Rediscovered Archive" that was written by Hamish Crooks, who is the head of the archive for Magnum Photos.
Ernest Cole was born in a township in South Africa's Transvaal in 1940. His groundbreaking book House of Bondage brought the daily realities, humiliations, and horrors of apartheid to the outside world for the first time, announcing Cole as potentially one of the great documentary photographers of his time. Unfortunately, he was to die in New York in 1990 destitute, having not worked in photography since the early '70s.
It was readily assumed that the vast majority of Cole's negatives had been lost. It was acknowledged that some never left South Africa when he did, but there was also no trace of his subsequent work in the US and Europe. Then out of the blue, Cole's nephew, Leslie-- sorry-- Matlaisane was contacted in South Africa by a Swedish bank asking him if he would like to retrieve around 60,000 negatives from three safety deposit boxes.
There was no information on who had placed the negatives there or paid for their storage, but the bank was now requesting they be removed. Matlaisane obliged in 2017 before bringing the work to Magnum in 2018.
There is a side story concerning how the negatives ended up in a Swedish bank, but comment on that can be made until the investigation is complete.
When you think of the size of the Magnum Archive-- sorry-- when you think of the size of the Magnum Archive, this edition is, of course, in terms of quantity tiny, but what's really interesting is that within the Magnum Archive, there's not much that we have in which if we really are honest, the photographer is directly involved in what he is photographing. Often we have been photographing the other. That's who we have often been, the middle class photographer who comes in and looks at someone else's life.
And, of course, it may have been done with empathy, but Cole didn't need empathy. It was his reality. This makes the Cole Archive very important from a photography point of view and from a Magnum perspective. It is important in terms of who we are and who we should be.
It is about looking at the history of documentary photography and furthering it. It is rare to have work like this where the photographer is not removed at all from the subject. This work is the photographer's life.
In the next few months while we edit the archive, we hope to redress Cole's lack of recognition for his role in the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa possibly to produce the house of bondage that Cole actually wanted to make to piece together all the stories shot in the US and lastly to fulfill the dream of Leslie, Cole's nephew, and the family by having Cole finally getting to credit he deserves for highlighting the injustices of apartheid.
So I wanted to end with this archive also because I think this is what the Magnum team now culturally is working towards. It's this idea of the legacy and the representation and improving the variety of voices looking into the archive and being represented by the archive. So there we go, Magnum and Magnum Foundation together.
SPEAKER 1: So now I'd like to invite Dominique and Pauline to come sit in the front. And they'll be joined by Katherine Reagan who is assistant director for collections and the Ernest Stern curator of rare books and manuscripts at the library. I've already given her whole title. Katherine's been very active within the library in collecting archives of photographs and will have lots to say.
KATHERINE REAGAN: Thanks to both of you. That was really amazing. I'm sure that lots of questions are going to come up. Like Andrew earlier, I'll get a sense of the room first. How many questions? I've got questions I could-- all right, good. We already have one. You're first. Do we have a microphone going around the room like we did this morning? I know Elizabeth had to leave so--
AUDIENCE: Very grand. Salut. And thank you for your time. In the presentations that you gave to day, specifically for the work that Dominique, you do, I think that you have set a great example and an expectation for what accountability we can hold for photographs and archives. And, Pauline, with the work that you do with Magnum, I think that it's really interesting that the last note that you ended on with the Ernest Cole Archive and just how that's being-- how his photographs are in addition to what it has been predominantly a white male collection of middle class photographers going out into the world.
Knowing that photography is an invention that came from imperial concentrations of wealth, from going out into the world and colonizing the world and having lots of wealth and time to develop photography, in what ways is that addressed at Magnum? I know there's the addition of the Ernest Cole Archive, and I'm really excited to look more into his work. But in what ways are photographers' estates being re-contextualized within that history and that legacy?
PAULINE VERMARE: So-- sorry, just to rephrase the question, how are we re-contextualizing it? Is that what you're saying?
AUDIENCE: Yeah. How are they contextualizing photography as we know.
KATHERINE REAGAN: So, for instance-- so by inviting I think the most-- the what we have-- what Magnum has been doing more in the past year is to invite curators who are actually concerned-- who are actually part of the archive that they are looking at where it'd be Magnum China, for instance. A publication that just came out was edited by Chinese specialists, geographers, editors, special stock photography, and there is a Magnum-- if you're interested, I believe it's now online. It's called the Africa Archive Project, where Mark Sealy, who is the head of-- I'm going to blank on the name-- thank you, Autograph in London, was invited to mine the archives to exactly point that out and to look into the work of, say, George Rodger in Africa in the 1950s and to work with Mikhael Subotzky, who's a South African photographer, and invite photographers from South Africa to look into the archive and to do exactly that. So a critical reading of what it was and what it should be and inviting people to actually have that conversation.
AUDIENCE: Thank you.
AUDIENCE: Thank you so much for both of your presentations. This question is mostly for Dominique Luster. And I wanted to ask you about the secondary archive that you are creating. So you have the first collection archive, and then you are collecting a lot of information from the community. And you're creating a second archive. And so what are you doing to share that information, and how are you connecting people with one another. Or do you have plans to or dreams to connect people with one another around the preliminary-- oh, I'm sorry the primary archive?
DOMINIQUE LUSTER: So I just--
AUDIENCE: Also thank you for your preliminary remarks.
DOMINIQUE LUSTER: Oh, thank you.
AUDIENCE: Katrina is a great friend of ours.
DOMINIQUE LUSTER: She's fantastic. So I would actually say that we probably-- I think of it as we have three archives if I may. We have the original negatives and prints and things, but the original negatives that came in that-- I think that's what you're referring to as the first archive. And then we have the subsequent names, dates, places, things that we are adding onto those records subsequently after the artist.
That's what you're referring to as the third archive. Am I correct-- or the second archive, correct? And then I would actually also add that the collection of oral histories is the third.
And because they're their own set and because we catalog them just like other objects, they're catalogued more like archive objects than they are art objects. They are not accessioned, but they are a part of the archive. So they're actually a third collection in their own right. And then any information that is extrapolated out of those oral histories or in our exhibitions when someone's just walking through the exhibition and says, oh, that's my dad by the way, all of that information becomes part of that second-- our metadata source that we are creating.
And so about 75% to 80% of our collection, the negatives and the prints, have been digitized and available online. And so the way that our online repository works is that we do not derive titles. Instead, it is described the way that we've been told to describe them or in the instructions in which we've been told to describe them. And so that information, if you go on our website, that you'll see attached to each and every photo came from someone or is derived in the formula or in the respect that we've been told to derive large groups of things.
So, one, we share it publicly by just digit-- by making extraordinary efforts both in terms of staff and in terms of finances to get as much of it digitized as quickly as possible. And then also two other things that we do to connect it to the greater world is that we have a public GitHub repo that is our entire data dump of data. So our collection is item level catalog, so each one of the 80,000 is item level housed and has its own individual metadata record and an accession number of its own right. And every single one of those has a-- as a collection has been data dumped on to GitHub so that it is completely searchable It's also keyword searchable on our website. And we are working with-- or I'm working on a new project through AW Mellon and the University of Nevada Las Vegas to work with artificial intelligence and machine learning to really reach into the more collections as data space so that we can start to make different types of connections faster than I can make.
So a part of my job is connecting with humans. And I-- but for photographs of community members that we're working in the '30s, '40s, and '50s, their memory is still with us even if their voice may not be. So a lot of my job is to use machines to help further their voices faster than they could have on their own.
So we trying a different-- we try both the people way, and we do everything that we can to connect among people and to do collections outside of our building. So we have about 165 community nonprofit partners that we are working with every year so that exhibitions are outside of the building. And then with-- in addition to those connections, we're also working very, very deeply in the tech world to spread into that lane as well.
I don't know who had their hand up first. I'm sorry.
KATHERINE REAGAN: Yeah, right behind you. That's closer. And then back over there is next.
DOMINIQUE LUSTER: You're good.
AUDIENCE: It's on? OK, sorry about that. I had the opportunity to spend time with a curator of Aboriginal art-- of contemporary Aboriginal art in Sydney. And as part of the conversation, I asked about the-- there was a museum of Natural History right across the harbor. And I said what was your thoughts on it. And he said, well, I'm Aboriginal, and I view going over there and seeing items as artifacts as relics of the past as a huge problem because those are actually the relics I grew up using everyday, and we still use them in my family.
And so his view of the archiving and the demonstration of those images of those items and different things was actually a real problem because it put his race of his people in the past when it was very much present. But also it almost fossilized a part of their life that he thought was contemporary. And I wonder when you look at the photographs that are still family items in Pittsburgh among a lot of people how that idea crosses your path.
DOMINIQUE LUSTER: So that actually comes up a lot. We are a 80,000-object family photo album, and it is also the artist's work as well. So Teenie has created these objects often about half the collection for The Pittsburgh Courier. So they actually had a in product, so they were published in the press. Or they were published as a for-private client. So so and so hired Teenie Harris to make a engagement photo as you saw in the image.
And so a lot of times what happens is the community sees in our experiences-- the individuals that we work with come into the museum or if they're at the YMCA or the Boys and Girls Club or wherever we happen to have an exhibition up at that time and they say oh that was my grandfather, and it becomes more we are introduced to this idea of individual to icon. And so Teenie Harris has become this greater thing that represents a lot of people and a lot of culture that is bigger than himself. And the community recognizes that almost instantaneously and in participates or chooses to opt into that participation.
And that is not the case in a lot of spaces because of the way that it can sometimes be approached from the beginning. But because the museum did-- never moved without community buy in and conversation, there is a lot of voluntary opting in to be a part of this individual to icon so that everyone does feel like it isn't just a photograph of my father's soldier uniform portrait. My grandfather is a part of this legacy, is a part-- I am a part of this legacy. This thing becomes bigger than myself.
Teenie Harris is synonymous not just with the man and his picture, which is what I see, but also this symbol of African-American culture that people want to uplift. And so that's been our experience, but I think so much of that comes from how the museum approached the collection from the beginning as a conversation and not as some colonialism but not as much.
PAULINE VERMARE: If I may, I think this question is, in fact, two-fold, right? You have recognizing your grandfather and wanting a copy of the photograph, which--
DOMINIQUE LUSTER: Which we'll do.
PAULINE VERMARE: Which, of course, yeah. And the archive would send the photo of the subject or the family. And then you're talking here about the colonist-- like the colonialist or post-colonialist use of something that is, in fact, not in archive but the reality for so many people. And so the Museum of Natural History now is doing some rereading.
I don't know if you've been recently in New York, so you have those second-- whatever second readings. What's missing here? The women. What's missing here? So what can you do when this is the whole nature of your archive is that's what it was born with. That's the history it was.
And I think the article we mentioned yesterday while discussing the architecture of the New York Times, should the archive-- does the archive belong in the museum, or does it belong with the descendants of the people who are represented? I think that's a very big question, and I think we are now trying to answer those questions when we work in archives. Who do these photographs belong to, and who should be reading them now and looking at them and talking about them?
DOMINIQUE LUSTER: And I think what we have is who-- not only just whose photographs but whose history and who has the right to tell that story. And if we don't have the right to tell that story, then we don't. But to your point, it's not just the physical of walking through and seeing your grandfather's photo. It's that history of where does this belong culturally so that New York Times article is actually really, really great if you haven't read it. And that's something that we struggle with as well is like has the right to tell this story, and sometimes it's not us. And we need to be acknowledging of that.
AUDIENCE: Hi. I totally agree that article about the portrait that's held in the Harvard collection and the family is making a claim for it is a fascinating story about who owns an image and how that image is represented. That was a powerful piece in Sunday's New York Times I believe. I was interested in what is the role of the images that are published of Teenie Harris in the newspaper, and how does the interpretation of that change?
There's a huge selection process by the newspaper editors, and what story do they tell? How would that be told differently? And my third point is that at looking at your pictures is that I'm totally reminded of the other cultural hero of Pittsburgh is August Wilson. Does he appear at all in any--
DOMINIQUE LUSTER: I'll start with a third question because it's the easiest. No.
So Teenie Harris and August Wilson are along with a few other people our hometown heroes, but August Wilson actually didn't spend much time in Pittsburgh after he was an adult. He grew up in Pittsburgh for sure, but he moved very soon in his early adulthood. And all of his writings is looking back so-- except for Ma Rainey, which is set in Chicago. Everything else in the cycle plays are set in Pittsburgh, and it's him looking back on Pittsburgh. It's not actually his-- he's not sitting in a bar writing these plays.
And he does not appear in the collection that we have found thus far. He's a fairly identifiable face, so we figure if he was there, we would have found him by now. And that is not actually-- that does-- says nothing. There's 80,000 photos and half a million people. So it's really easy to miss people, which is why we're looking facial recognition, object recognition, and things like that.
So the easiest answer is he does not appear nor do they cross paths nor-- and it's also-- we get requests a lot to do collaborative works between the August Wilson materials and the Teenie Harris materials. But curatorial see those stories don't make as much sense as they might appear to because Teenie Harris lived his entire life in Pittsburgh and was on the beat every single day photographing people's lives for personal use and for the paper, and August Wilson left as soon as he could actually similar to Warhol. And-- another Pittsburgher if you're not familiar, Andy Warhol's from Pittsburgh-- and looked back.
Teenie Harris never really left and looked back. He stayed and worked through. So that's the main difference there. Shifting to your second question-- is that a-- good? OK.
He did take photographs as assignment, and that would drive the interpretation of what was or was not being published. And the power of the black press in the mid-20th century is extraordinary in driving social change. But Teenie Harris actually started driving what the articles would be about because he didn't take duplicates, not very often. So there are very few multiple shots in the collection being the paper did not pay Teenie-- they paid him a salary, but they only paid him for the final products. They did not pay for the film. They did not pay for the develop-- they didn't pay for any of that. They did not pay for the bulbs. They didn't pay for nothing.
So they-- out of-- what's that saying? Necessity is the mother of invention. So Teenie Harris developed a skill set within himself that he walks into a room with the mayor. He takes one shot, and he's out. In fact, one of his nicknames is One shot Harris because-- and it's funny for us now to think someone could develop that kind of eye and that kind of skill so that they walk into a room and they take one shot and they-- doesn't check it. He just bounces.
But for him, he doesn't have time to waste bulbs. He does-- or money, excuse me, he doesn't have money to waste bulbs. He doesn't have money to waste film. In the beginning, he was only paid like $35 a week. So-- and he has a wife and five children. So there's not a lot of repetitive shots in the collection.
So when he sells that product to The Pittsburgh Courier, he's selling them you got that one negative, and you better make it work. And what becomes extraordinary about him as an agent of social change, even though he never saw himself that way, but what he does is that-- and we have oral histories of editors and columnists later saying that Teenie would drive the photo. So what he saw, he comes into a room, he examines the room, whatever is happening-- a rally or whatever it is-- and he takes that shot, and then the journalist may have thought they knew what they were going to write about and Teenie Harris was there to supplement that photo.
And then it actually turns into, well, Teenie Harris took this gorgeous photo. I'm going to write about what he saw and what he is driving the narrative. And so by the early '40s, that's pretty much the consistent pattern that's happening is that we can be fairly sure when we're starting to look at cut lines out of the career that Teenie Harris's photograph drove that story, not the other way around.
There was a third question, but I have forgotten it. And I apologize for that. Thank you.
AUDIENCE: Hi, thank you both so much for your presentations. They were great. So I think this can probably apply for both of you, both Pauline and Dominique. I really liked Dominique in your presentation talking about interpretations are welcome and are not already determined. I think that's really important. And I'd like to bring it back to the earlier conversation about libraries and thinking about the New York Public Library and this accessibility question.
So for you in your archives and thinking about what is not accessible to the public, trying to bridge that gap, and I know, Pauline, you were talking about going into community centers or the thing that happened at the JCC. Things like that opened that up to more people, but I think, too, thinking of museums, especially as coming out of very particular spaces, only certain people feel more welcome than other people coming to those spaces. How for you when you're working with, particularly private archives that accessibility question to the public? How do you think about that?
PAULINE VERMARE: Wow, that's yeah. I think-- well, first of all, I think thanks to the digitization of the archive, it is if anyone wants to look into any scholar, historian, anyone who wants to look into the Magnum Archive has access to 600,000 to 700,000 images and can really go into pretty detailed research. In fact, many people who come to us with a request for show or book have already spent quite some time online looking at what they wanted to do. And they come thanks to that, they can come to us with something a little more specific.
Are you asking about the democratic nature of the use of the archive or something else? Yeah?
Yeah. No, I would say certainly in the case of the Magnum Archive that anyone can, if they want, organize a show and we've-- in fact, we received so many requests since Magnum is in the US. It's everywhere. It's in every-- on every continent. So there are shows traveling all the time and new shows being curated all the time, and I think it's in part thanks to the fact that the database was so-- is so accessible to students alike.
I think, in fact, would be good to talk about-- we are talking a little bit about collaborations in general, artists young-- students working with photography, collaborating, and maybe it would be a good idea to work with the Magnum Archive and to work in response to, in fact, maybe critically as you were pointing out. And this is exactly what we want to be doing. So everything we can do in that goal, we will do.
DOMINIQUE LUSTER: I would say-- and I want to make sure I just repeat your question to make sure I'm asking. You're asking about the accessibility of private archives in museums and the democratization of that?
So the Teenie Harris collection, while in the museum, is actually the most accessible part of the museum's collection because it's actually separate from the photography collection. It's its own curatorial department, so my position is pretty much the same as the curator of photography, the curator of fine art, or the curator of x, y, and z hierarchically.
And so within it being a curatorial-- up until-- actually up until the end of this month, the Teenie Harris Collection is on the public non pay side of the museum specifically for that reason, and that was a very intentional and conscious choice that we made. And that is only possible through this external funding supports, so it is purposefully public and free. Anyone for any reason can walk into the Carnegie Museum of Art and look at the Teenie Harris gallery space without speaking to anyone or stopping at that desk and paying 19.95 because that creates a barrier to access.
We make purposeful decisions about digitizing it and putting up-- putting it online, and some of my other research and writing is on the digital divide and how that creates access points for people. Just because it's online doesn't mean it's actually accessible and available for those, especially in my community who may not have internet at home. So we try to be exceptionally conscious about that, and that's why we have so many community partners.
It's also so that we can put-- I don't know-- 20 prints in the YWCA because of fun-- we are so graciously funded. So we try-- or I try in every table that we're at in curatorial meetings to say, well, this is fine for everyone else, but for Teenie, we're going to have to approach this a little differently. Or-- and we will have a major exhibition in our main galleries just like everyone else.
With Teenie, I always tell my colleagues that I'm not asking for special privileges. I'm asking you to take your foot off my artist neck. It's like a Ruth Bader Ginsburg quote.
So we're really-- we will be just like everyone else with the same amount of power and might as all the other curatorial departments in our galleries, and we will go out of our way to find extra funding so that we can put public presentations of his work. And so that if someone calls and says that's my grandfather, I have a stream that I can pull to make a print for that individual.
PAULINE VERMARE: I should add also, sorry, for the estates, say, Cartier-Bresson Foundation or Capa Archive that it is not Magnum who will decide ultimately if a large project by Cartier-Bresson, by Capa is going to be possible. What we call the moral rights is with the estate. So if they decide that this is a show that they want to do with so-and-so, they will, and we will help. But if they don't want to do it-- that's not really your question because you're talking about individual access to the archive-- but the moral right question is also something to bring in.
KATHERINE REAGAN: I'll follow up with a question. We've been talking about providing a platform for artists and community members from memory to tell their stories. But working with-- these communities are not monolithic. They don't all want the same thing. In the instance of a collaborative like Magnum, for example, some artists may foreground different desires whether it's legacy, whether it's an income stream, whether it's interaction with the public. And then also you, Dominique, with the your communities, not everyone may want to have their grandfather's picture up on a wall. So how do you strategize some of these individual conversations and negotiations with people that make enough space for those differences and desires and opinions and how you service their work?
DOMINIQUE LUSTER: So I will say if I can add an and here is that we don't typically-- in the years that I've been there and then my colleague who's been there for about 12, we've never gotten a case where someone didn't want their photograph on a wall. And that is mostly because Teenie Harris is a very honorific photographer, and I say that in the verb sense of he honored people. He captured people the way they wish to be captured, and we choose to display and show them the way that he does in these very honorific ways that uplift black community. So we haven't really gotten concerns of people not wanting to be on the walls.
What we do get a lot is a differencing of opinion of black culture. Black people are just as complex and diverse as everybody else. And so if we take any sample of an idea of a big story of a narrative that we're trying to tell in our exhibition through the archive, you will get someone that comes into my office really upset about hair and the way that we're talking about African-American hair and pressing hair versus straight hair versus textured hair versus professional hair. And then you have someone that's like hair is no one else's business but mine.
And so it's really-- the differences will not be whether someone wants the photo on the wall or not. It's the interpretation of black culture and black history that we really have to mitigate the between and really have to understand that there are just as many perspectives about just about any topic in the archive as there are people and how do we tell everyone's story respectfully. And the answer that I have come to-- and maybe it's not the best answer, but it's the only answer that I could come up with at the time that I have really stood behind-- actually came to me through the advice of Courtney Young who's at Bingham-- Bingham? Is that how you pronounce it? Binghamton?
KATHERINE REAGAN: Binghamton.
DOMINIQUE LUSTER: Binghamton. She's the university librarian there. She was always reminded me about two or three years ago that she told me that my only job is to be the champion for my artist. And when everyone else's voice sounds really cloudy, my only job is to remember why I'm there, and that is Teenie's voice.
And so when we get into these really dicey gray spaces about, well, this particular sector of black culture is very complicated and everyone has a very different opinion, at the end of the day when that becomes too much, I only have to really silence in on Teenie's voice and opinion because it's still his work, and we still need to honor his intentions. So that's kind of how I have solved it. And sometimes people get really upset about that, and sometimes it's great. It just depends, but I have to stand by my decision to protect my artist and his voice and his intentions. If someone else disagrees with that, that's OK.
PAULINE VERMARE: Well, for Magnum, of course, you have the difference between the living photographers and the estates. So in the case of the estates, you speak with the representatives of the estate, and so they are the ones in charge. And, of course, Magnum sometimes intervenes.
In the case of living artists, most of them-- some of them like Bruce Gilden, for instance, whose work I was doing just before, he's been taking photos of people up close in the streets all his life, never the right angle and always a little bit violent in his ways. He's never really had-- he's never really had issues with anyone. I don't think that there has been any lawsuits-- major lawsuits, which is quite surprising when you think of it because these are recognizable faces.
I don't know. I don't know that in the-- speaking about individuals, I think psychology, of course, as simple as it sounds, but it's all about working with the photographers, the living photographers. It's all about trying to understand the psychology of their photographing. What is the intention, representing the intention, making sure that you get that right, and then standing for them as you say. You represent them. In Magnum's case, it's 96 voices, all different. The intentions are different. Many of them don't agree. It's not like it's a collective that is a one voice. It's a lot of generations. It's French people, American people, Japanese. It's-- yeah, it's a complicated--
DOMINIQUE LUSTER: It's the word I use most at work. It's complicated.
KATHERINE REAGAN: I think we're exactly at time. It's 3:00.
DOMINIQUE LUSTER: Archivists know how to live.
KATHERINE REAGAN: Thank you very much, everybody.
PAULINE VERMARE: Thank you.
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In this segment: Dominique Luster, The Teenie Harris Archivist, Carnegie Museum of Art; Pauline Vermare, Cultural Director of Magnum Photos; and response panel moderated by Katherine Reagan, Assistant Director for Collections and Ernest L. Stern Curator of Rare Books & Manuscripts, Cornell Library.
"Images Objects Archives: The Multiple Lives of Photographs" featured artists, archivists, and curators actively involved with photographic archives discussing important issues regarding the selection, use, contextualization, and interpretation of photographs. They addressed how specific photographs acquire added meaning in the company of others, how photographic archives serve a variety of users and audiences, why the photographic archive as an idea has become central to the practices of contemporary art, and how the collection and presentation of traditional archives differs from that of today’s digital image recording.
This symposium was organized by Andy Grundberg '69 and Kate Addleman-Frankel, the Gary and Ellen Davis Curator of Photography at Cornell, and generously supported by the Melissa ’85 and Matthew Rubel Family Fund for Photography, Education, and Engagement. It is held in conjunction with “Crossing the Photographic Divide: Mining and Making Meaning,” a collaborative initiative between the Johnson and Cornell University Library, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.