James Hull, Likeness and Legacy: A re-photographic survey of early portraits
Friday, April 1, 2016 to Sunday, May 22, 2016
Opening Reception: Friday April 1, 5:30-8:00pm.
Gallery open Friday-Sunday, noon to 4pm.
In this follow up to his solo exhibition at Harvard Medical School’s Transit Gallery, “Personal Propaganda”, James Hull expands and focuses on the standardized photographic portraits called “Cabinet Cards”. These portraits, created in artistic studios, developed and printed by sunlight, were the first widely collected photographs in America. These thin albumen and bromide prints mounted to heavy paper cards were also the first accurate, reproducible recordings of the likenesses of everyday citizens.
These 130 year old photographic portraits found in the family attic in Atlanta are paired with fascinating examples of other early photographic forms: Collodian positive prints, Ferrotypes, and other paper print formats.
Hull connects this popular card format to images of the 1st Century Roman sculptural busts that he believes to be origins of the formal poses used by the commercial photographers of the 1870’s. These two connected forms of portraiture are examined through brilliant side-by-side enlargements featuring photographs produced in Virginia, North Carolina, Massachusetts and Texas and sculptures from the Vatican, Capitoline and Naples Archeological Museum collections.