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Aperture: Works from the Castellani Art Museum Photography Collection

Sep 11, 2011 - Apr 29, 2012


The aperture, in photography, is a thin light-blocking plate or interleaving set of adjustable plates that permits light to pass through a lens. The aperture, which is adjustable in size and allows the photographer to control the amount of light entering the camera is what, in part, permits the negative to be exposed—capturing an image. Without this element, modern photography would not be possible.

This exhibition was an homage not only to this important mechanical component but also to the great, innovative, pioneering and modern photographers. From its beginnings—Camera Obscura—to the fragility of the Daguerreotype came the modern photograph. In the late 1880s, George Eastman developed the commercially successful concept of converting the pre-processed plate into rolls of celluloid sheets that wound around a small moving rod inside of the camera. As portions of the celluloid film were exposed, they could be advanced to a second rod for storage. The whole camera was mailed or brought back to his plants for development. This camera, called the Kodak Camera, utilized the first transparent photographic "film" as we know it today.

The work of Patricia Bazelon, Augustus Thibaudeau and George Barker offer viewers historical documentation of Niagara Falls and Western New York. Michael Bishop, John Pfahl, Andy Warhol and Gary Winogrand’s works explore various aspects of social commentary. Modern examples of photographic experimentation, including negative manipulation, computer/digital and chemical enhancements, are represented though the work of artists Cindy Sherman, Hill+Bloom Manual, Ann Rosen and Ellen Brooks.

Photography has undergone a number of aesthetic twists and turns in its progress from practical documentation to an art form with its own icons, heroes, galleries and collectors. This exhibition brings together over fifty images of architecture, events, landscapes, historic moments, people, and fashion; ranging in date from 1888 to 2002. These works, from the beautiful and inspiring to social commentary and stylistic innovation, represented a cross section of the Castellani Art Museum’s photography holdings.