The camera was primarily created to record and document, and the first subjects photographers have tackled with through the lens are people and places. In Once. Again. Photographs in Series at the Getty Museum, Los Angeles, we trace back historical photographic habits and the passage of time, starting 9 July.
Photographing places and people have been a longtime tradition and habit even by artists and photographers back then. It's something that's been done ever since the advent of photography. Alfred Stieglitz once took photographs of his partner Georgia O'Keeffe, over the span of their tumultuous 30-year relationship, and we've seen the shifts that have been made, reflecting a glimpse of what their relationship became. It's the same with photographers Harry Callahan, Paul Strand and Julia Margaret Cameron, all who had longtime muses for their photography. Time has definitely changed the way they photograph them, as do their relationships.
Photo Getty Museum assistant curator and exhibition curator Marzie Harris said:
“ ‘Once again’ is a phrase repeated in a poem by William Wordsworth. He was fascinated by the powerful feeling that arises when revisiting a familiar place. He’s experiencing his surroundings in real time and yet is constantly aware of his memories of being there before. The photographers in this exhibition conjure that same sensation. They offer us the opportunity to see people and places afresh, even as we track the powerful changes wrought by time.”
Photographing places is nothing new. Even before, many photographers have been experimenting with their visual language in landscape, and over the time we get to see the seasonal and manmade changes of the same places. William Garnett used aerial photography to capture a walnut grove's before-and-after, his series pioneering the environmental movement. Richard Misrach photographed several images of the Golden Gate Bridge and the atmospherical changes around it.
The exhibition will also feature contemporary photographers such as LaToya Ruby Frazier, who documented a series of self-portraits while cleaning the rooms of her family home. Camilo José Vergara documented the same, single Harlem storefront for 40 years, showing the slow yet dramatic changes.
Get lost in Once. Again. Photographs in Series and see photography's capabilities in capturing the passage of time. The show will run through 10 November.
Images are from the press kit.