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					                         Nineteenth Century Photograph Exhibition Proposal


        With the advent of digital cameras and camera phones, we in the twenty first century often

forget how young photography is. We are surrounded by photographic images; in newspapers and on

the internet, decorating rooms and illustrating books. This near constant exposure has prompted us to

forget how photography completely changed the landscape of visual culture. This exhibition attempts to

illustrate the importance of photographic images as personal objects during the nineteenth century in

the United States. I intend to use photographs exclusively gathered from the Phillips’ collection, and so

would like to show this exhibit in the corner of the Nissley Gallery with two standing cases and the wall

space in between them. Because not all viewers may be knowledgeable in the differences between the

several techniques developed in the nineteenth century, the exhibit will begin with a brief timeline of

the development of photography with a small description of the type of image used. For example, I will

describe the processes in a manner similar to:

                Daguerreotypes are made from polished silver plates with a light-sensitive emulsion
        coat that produces the image. These earliest examples of these images had incredibly long
        exposure times with 15 minutes on a sunny day, or 30 minutes if the weather did not cooperate.
        In the 1840’s, by tweaking the process, the exposure time needed to create the image
        decreased to between 10 to 60 seconds. They were sold in leather cases to protect them from
        the damaging effects of carbon dioxide

I intend this section to be placed on the wall with a printed time line, which I will create, along with

images from the collection that illustrate the technique either through a printed reproduction of the

piece or the piece itself. If the latter, I plan to consult with Russ to determine the possibility of

constructing a wall-mounted case in terms of cost and visual accessibility; as well as Maureen, to ensure

that the photographs remain safe and in good condition.
        Within the cases I hope to discuss photography in Lancaster and surrounding cities and how

images were used in the home. In the Lancaster case, I hope to discuss how the advent of photography

changed the way in which Lancaster depicted itself. Most historical research has been performed on the

notable galleries and studios located in roaring metropolises such as New York City, Washington D.C.

and Philadelphia. While these cities were very influential in the development and advancement of

photography, little has been done to consider how this new technology was received in more rural

regions. I intend to include images taken of identifiable local persons, like Ida Cox (from Muensch

Collection) as well as images clearly coming from local studios (these will be primarily cartes de visite,

due to the stamped with the gallery identification on the back). I would also like to include an image of

1842 Lancaster Intelligencer (probably from microfilm) in which the first advertisement for

daguerreotype process in Lancaster was placed, as well as a list of studios of Lancaster and their

locations. Fortunately, an effort was made by several Pennsylvania historical societies to create an

extensive list of photographers based upon ledgers, photographs with the name of the gallery on it and

census records, a number of which were from Lancaster.

        I am also considering including some images of 19th century F&M students via the equivalent of

a yearbook held within the F&M archives as well as any images of the campus yet to be determined. As

of the writing of this proposal, I have not requested these pieces from the archives; I plan to do this

once approval is made. That being said, I also have the intention to request an image or two from the

Lancaster Historical Society hopefully illustrating both the changes in the community as well as filling a

void in the collection: occupational photography. One of the more prevailing types of portraiture was

the occupational portrait in which the sitter would be photographed amongst tools of his trade. This

type of image came directly out of the growing middle class who valued a sense of work ethic because it

was this trait, they felt, that allowed them to increase their social stature. With this mentality, they

frequently chose to visually define themselves by their occupation. The more upper class
representations, like the Cox would not have been depicted in this manner, and so this image of Ida with

an occupational portrait (which would have to be borrowed) would prove to illustrate the relative

democratizing effect the new medium produced. Photographs were much more affordable than having

a painting commissioned, and so individuals of the middle class, as well as some from the working,

would have been able to for the first time to have a portrait made of them or a loved one.

        In the last case I would like to discuss the ways in which photography was integrated into

everyday life. Like with all new technology there were those who welcomed it with open arms, and

those who balked at the idea. In fact, many who did not understand the methods of creating a

photograph accused the actor of witchcraft. However, most Americans enjoyed photographs and

adapted their lifestyles to accommodate them. For example, tintypes were revolutionary in their day

because of their durability. Tintypes did not need the cases that the daguerreotypes and ambrotypes

required, and so they weighed less and took up considerably less space. Tintypes could more readily be

stored in a soldier’s hat or pocket. The only real damage that one could inflict upon these images would

be to bend them or severely scratch the surface, which made them more suitable for life on the

battlefield than their fragile glass counterparts, the ambrotype. They were also significantly cheaper to

produce because iron was fairly inexpensive and one did not need to pay for a leather case. Soldiers of

almost any class could have their photograph taken and trade them with loved ones before they left for

war. Similarly small “gem” or “jewel” tintypes (1” x 1.5”) were made and popular ways in which one

would have their photograph taken. These tiny images would have been placed in lockets, pins or even

small leather cases to be kept close at all times. We have numerous examples of these gem tintypes

associated with a case, but I would like to borrow examples of these pins and lockets from one Irvil Kear.

        I also intend to discuss the popularity of Carte de Visite. These small images, made from the

collodion process, were mass produced on paper (the cheapest material used). The carte de visite was a

fad that developed to replace the calling cards used at the time and would be collected and traded by
friends and family. Individuals would have many copies made at a given time and could have them

reprinted when the first batch ran out. Soon an interest in collecting famous people’s photographs was

vocalized and a market developed to provide such images those mentioned above. A photo album

within the museum’s holdings illustrates this desire perfectly; it holds images of prominent actors during

the Civil War.

        Photographs were also the medium in for a popular form of entertainment: the stereograph,

essentially a 19th century View-Master. A device called a stereoscope was necessary to view the

stereographs. The stereographs themselves were similar to cartes des visite in that they were made

from paper, but instead of one image, two would be on one card. This card would be placed in the

stereoscope and looked through to see a 3D representation of an image. These were revolutionary. One

could now see detailed images from national parks or cities within the comfort of one’s own parlor. I

have been told that the museum does have examples of these however I have yet to come across them.

This being said, I would like to borrow a stereoscope and several stereographs from the collection of

Margaret Pease-Fye.

      From collection:
    2012.00.132, Girl with Plaid Dress (ambrotype)
    2012.00.137, Union Soldier (tintype)
    Photo album (book holding cartes des visite)
    2012.00.138, Two Men with Hats and Cigars (tintype)
    2012.00.143, Seated Woman with tinted Cheeks (daguerreotype)
    A number of the gem tintypes (2012.00.56-99) and leather case associated with
    2012.00.108, Four Portraits, (possibly daguerreotype)
    2012.00.112, Young Man Standing in front of Pillar Holding Hat, (carte des visite)
    2012.00.115, Woman’s Bust (carte des visite)
    2012.00.117, Woman Standing by Column and Drape (carte des visite)
    2012.00.120, Defenders of the Union (carte des visite)
    2012.00.121, Forty-Nine Officers of the C.S. Army and Navy (carte des visite)
      To borrow:
    Pin and locket from Irvil Kear
    Stereoscope and Stereograph from Margaret Pease-Fye
     Yearbook from F&M Archives
     Occupational photograph from Lancaster Historical Society
     Image of Lancaster from Lancaster Historical Society
Please note that this is not the final list, as per discussed above, a number of these objects are subject to

change due to the nature of borrowing them. Similarly, the images used from the collection may also be

added to or swapped, but I do believe this is the bare minimum for my needs.

     In terms of programing, I would like to bring in a guest speaker; Joshua White. White is a local

photographer who has experience working with historical photographic processes to create images such

as ambrotypes and daguerreotypes. I would like to invite White to come into the museum and present a

demonstration on these processes. He has been approached in the past and asked if he would be willing

to part of programing at the museum and had expressed an interest at the time. This proposal, however,

has not been expanded upon or finalized so I would need to contact him to see if he would be willing

and able to perform a demonstration in connection to this exhibit.

         This type of programing may be of interest not only to local community members, specifically

the wealth of photographers in the area, but also to professors on campus. Two courses offered in the

spring semester of 2013 pertain directly to photography (History of Photography and Digital

Photography); I intend to invite these professors and their classes specifically to the event. I am meaning

to hold this event on a weekend, possibly a Sunday from 12:30 to 2, in hopes of a wider audience,

including a greater number of community members, in attendance. To facilitate this turn-out, I plan to

approach local businesses, including galleries on Prince St., to display fliers detailing the event; possibly

before a First Friday to further increase visibility. In this way I would like to have the programing

associated with this exhibit not only interesting and relatable to professors and their students, but also

accessible to the greater community.
      Because this proposed exhibit would run during the spring semester, I am in the process of

making myself available to install the objects during the last week of winter break. Due to the small

nature of this exhibit, I do not believe that the instillation will take much time. This being said, I do not

have an anticipated end date, and would welcome any suggestions regarding the matter.

      I do not expect that this exhibit will exceed the $600 allocated. The expenses would primarily

include: any fees for borrowing an image or two from the Lancaster Historical Society or the $10

purchase of a high resolution copy of said images, potential fee for Joshua White’s demonstration, a few

additional (15) copies of a poster/flier to be distributed in town, and lastly acrylic risers and easels to aid

in the display of the objects. I have made a tentative list for these materials including 5 risers of assorted

sizes ranging from 3x3x3 to 6x9x6 and a pack of 12 easels of 2x1.75, totaling $114.95.

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