Images Objects Archives: The Multiple Lives of Photographs – Symposium Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

March 22, 2019

From its beginnings in the nineteenth century photography has been a profligate provider of visual information—and increasingly so as cameras have achieved near ubiquity. How do we organize, store, and retrieve these images? How do we decide what is worth looking at, individually or in bulk? What claims to photographs do museums and libraries have, and how do their differences tell us something about the nature of the medium?

This symposium will feature artists, archivists, and curators actively involved with photographic archives discussing important issues regarding the selection, use, contextualization, and interpretation of photographs. They will address 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.

Presenters are scheduled to include artists Mike Mandel and Chantal Zakari; photographers Larry ClarkAnthony Barbosa, and Joe Conzo, Jr.Julia Van Haaften, founding curator of the New York Public Library’s photography collection; Pauline Vermare, Cultural Director of Magnum Photos; andDominique Luster, the Teenie Harris Archivist, Carnegie Museum of Art; with the participation of collector Johan Kugelberg and Cornell’s Andrew MoiseyBill Gaskins, and Katherine Reagan.

The symposium is organized by Andy Grundberg and Kate Addleman-Frankel in conjunction with “Crossing the Photographic Divide: Mining and Making Meaning,” a collaborative initiative between the Johnson Museum and Cornell University Library, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Registration is free but required; contact Elizabeth Saggese at or 607-254-4642 by March 15.

Categories: Museum/Gallery News