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Time’s Shadow: Photographs from the Jan Leonard and Jerrold Peil Collection

Time's Shadow: Photographs from the Jan Leonard and Jerrold Peil Collection

February 5 through August 8, 2004

The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is proud to present an exhibition of photographs by some of the most important and influential pioneers of the medium. Time's Shadow: Photographs from the Jan Leonard and Jerrold Peil Collection features fifty images drawn from a collection generously donated to BAM/PFA by Bay Area collectors Jan Leonard and Jerrold Peil, and includes significant works by Roger Fenton, Auguste Salzmann, the Bisson brothers, and Timothy O'Sullivan. The wide variety of work in Time's Shadow suggests that these pioneering artists were both quasi-scientists and intrepid explorers, traveling far and wide to photograph not only the contemporary world but also shadows of the past.

The invention of photography in the late 1830s, roughly concurrent with the introduction of railroads and the invention of the telegraph, brought about one of the most radical changes in visual culture since the Renaissance. In an almost simultaneous succession of discoveries in France and Great Britain, photographic images were first captured as unique images on metal, paper, and glass. By the 1850s, advances in photographic techniques and processes as well as in modes of transportation enabled the adventurous to document whatever places and peoples were accessible by foot, coach, train, or boat. The distant sites and exotic subjects of the Mediterranean, Egypt, and the Near East particularly aligned with nineteenth-century European Romanticism and the lure of the past and the remote. British photographer Francis Frith, for example, traveled multiple times to the Middle East during the 1850s and captured stunning archeological and architectural ruins, such as The Hypaethedral Temple, Philae, documenting what many feared was a rapidly decaying culture. Juan Laurent, after beginning as a daguerreotypist in Paris, traveled to Madrid, where he established one of the earliest photographic studios in Spain. From the late 1850s to the 1890s Laurent created a vast archive of photographic views of the Iberian Peninsula. His Vistas de España album is on view in the exhibition.

Across the Atlantic, early photography chronicled the peoples and lands of an emerging nation, from the horrors of Civil War battlefields to the magnificent territories of the American West. In capturing the present, early American photography also fixed to paper the fragile imagery of what was vulnerable to the push of technology, change, and growth. During the 1870s, American photographer William Henry Jackson worked with the U.S. Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories to extensively document the western and northern territories. He often worked alongside the painter Thomas Moran. Jackson's photographs of Yellowstone, such as Crater of Grand Geyser, Yellowstone (1872), were instrumental in the decision by Congress to establish our first national park in 1872.

Time's Shadow: Photographs from the Jan Leonard and Jerrold Peil Collection is curated by Lucinda Barnes, Senior Curator for Collections, and will be on view in the museum's Theater Gallery through August 8, 2004. Admission to the Theater Gallery is always free (open Wednesday to Sunday, 11 to 5, Thursday 11 to 7).


Upcoming photography exhibitions at BAM/PFA:

MATRIX 210: Simryn Gill Standing Still
FEBRUARY 8 — APRIL 4, 2004
In quiet, haunting photographs of Malaysia's abandoned spaces—buildings bearing the taint of colonial history and ambitious construction projects left unfinished after the region's 1997 economic collapse—Singapore-born, Australia-based artist Simryn Gill captures what she calls "a place in time, where, one might say, the past lies in ruins, unkempt and untended, and the future also somehow has been abandoned and has started to crumble."

Roger Ballen: Photographs
MAY 12 — AUGUST 15, 2004
Roger Ballen, a native New Yorker who has lived in South Africa since the 1970s, creates startling, confrontational, and intensely personal photographs that blur the boundaries between documentary photography and constructed installations. Roger Ballen: Photographs presents a survey of Ballen's work, from the early architectural images made in the tradition of Walker Evans, to more recent work published in Outland (2001). The exhibition also includes the shockingly frank images of Afrikaans from Platteland (1996), a series of portraits of the forgotten white populations who represent the degradation of apartheid.