Press Release  April 30, 2019

You Are Here: A Brief History of Photography and Place

Courtesy New Orleans Museum of Art

Adolphe Braun, Panorama of Pompeii, c. 1868, Carbon print, Museum purchase, Zemurray Foundation Fund, 74.174

NEW ORLEANS, LA – The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) presents You Are Here: A Brief History of Photography and Place, on view April 26 – July 28, 2019. The exhibition explores photography’s complicated relationship to the places it represents, the places in which it is created, and the places in which we experience it. You Are Here both embraces and challenges the photograph’s role as a faithful record of place, examining photography’s successes and failures in rendering and sharing fragments of the world. Drawn almost exclusively from NOMA’s permanent collection, the exhibition traces a history of photography and place from the origins of the medium to the present. 

Courtesy New Orleans Museum of Art

Lola Alvarez-Bravo, Unos suben y otros bajan, Ciudad de Mexico, Mexico, 1940, Gelatin silver print, Museum purchase, General Acquisition Fund, 82.65

“From early photographs of the Arch of Titus in Rome to our own travel snapshots, photographs have had a profound effect on the way we experience the world,” said Susan Taylor, NOMA’s Montine McDaniel Freeman Director. “You Are Here asks us to consider how photographs can remind us of the places we’ve been and provide new experiences of places we may never be. We are delighted to share this thoughtful and thought-provoking exhibition with our public.” 

Photographs included in the exhibition range from some of the earliest salted paper prints of Jerusalem to mammoth images made using contemporary digital technology, tracing how photography’s evolving visual and material characteristics have influenced our understanding of place in different ways. Featuring works by a wide range of artists, including Lola Alvarez-Bravo, Anna Atkins, Eugene Atget, John Divola, Peter Henry Emerson, Gordon Parks, Edward Steichen, Carrie Mae Weems, and many more, You Are Here: A Brief History of Photography and Place celebrates photography’s influence on real world place-making, while questioning how something as reproducible, two-dimensional, and mobile as a photograph can continue to stand in for something as singular, experiential, and fixed in location as the place that it seems to represent. 

You Are Here demonstrates how photography can be both facilitate and impede our understanding of the world, inviting us to think more deeply about how photography affects our experience of the world and other people in it,” said Brian Piper, Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow for Photography. 

You Are Here: A Brief History of Photography and Place is organized by the New Orleans Museum of Art and is sponsored by George and Milly Denegre, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the A. Charlotte Mann and Joshua Mann Pailet Endowment. 

Courtesy New Orleans Museum of Art

Rich Frishman, Colored Entrance, Tylertown, MS, 2018, Archival inkjet print, Promised gift of an anonymous donor

You Are Here: A Brief History of Photography and Place is organized by the New Orleans Museum of Art and is sponsored by George and Milly Denegre, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the A. Charlotte Mann and Joshua Mann Pailet Endowment. 

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