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RYERSON IMAGE CENTRE

COLLECTING AND CURATING PHOTOGRAPHS:
BETWEEN PRIVATE AND PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

May 1 – 3, 2014
Organized by Dr. Thierry Gervais
Eaton Lecture Theatre RCC-204
Rogers Communication Centre, 80 Gould Street

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Collecting and Curating Photographs: Between Public and Private Collections

Image caption: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Alicante (Spain), gelatin silver print, 24.3 x 36.1 cm, 1933, private collection. Photo by Laura Margaret Ramsey © Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum/Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson










 

Click here for a PDF of the full version of the symposium program, including speaker bios and talk descriptions.

The third annual Ryerson Image Centre symposium on photography, this year entitled “Collecting and Curating Photographs: Between Private and Public Collections” aims to analyze how the photograph has become a collectible item and an enduring subject of academic studies since the nineteenth century. Focusing on the selection criteria and the intellectual ambitions that motivate and structure photographic collections, this conference seeks to highlight the dialogue established between private collectors and museum curators. Gabriel Cromer, Helmut and Alison Gernsheim, Georges Sirot, or more recently Pierre Apraxine for the Gilman Paper Co. — to name a few — have assembled large photographic collections that were sold, or partially donated, respectively to the George Eastman House (Rochester, USA), Harry Ransom Center (Austin, USA), the Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA). These collections, which were assembled privately, have become major components of public institutions, if not the foundation of their photographic collections. By questioning the role of collectors and curators of photographs, this symposium aims to examine the process of recognition and institutionalisation of the photographic medium. Among the consequences engendered by this process of collecting, preserving and exhibiting, this symposium will analyze how corpuses of photographs have — or have not — become legitimated subjects of academic research and how photographic collections have encouraged museums to consider cultural products along with artistic outputs.

The conference will take place over two and a half days and will be divided into four sections to highlight thematic similarities and shared concerns. The panel Building Public Photographic Collections” gathers curators of major public institutions to discuss the foundation and role of their photographic collections. The panel “Collecting Photographs” brings together collectors to discuss their ambitions related to the collecting process. A third panel, Photographic Collections in Perspective, gives historians of photography an opportunity to analyze the role of public and private photographic collections in academic research. The fourth and last panel, Passeurs of Photographs” brings together dealers and photography experts who guide collectors and curators in their acquisitions.

Registration: Free admission. Seating is provided on a first-come, first-served basis. 

The symposium is generously supported by the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, the School of Image Arts, Ryerson University, and the Consulat Général de France à Toronto.

The symposium will be streamed live at the following links:

Thursday, May 1st: https://ryecast.ryerson.ca/48/live/956.aspx
Friday, May 2nd: https://ryecast.ryerson.ca/48/live/957.aspx
Saturday, May 3rd: https://ryecast.ryerson.ca/48/live/958.aspx
 

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PROGRAM

THURSDAY, MAY 1, 2014
WELCOME

6:00 p.m.Welcome Address
Dr.
Mohamed Lachemi, Provost and Vice President Academic, Ryerson University (Toronto, Canada)

6:10 p.m. Research Activities at the Ryerson Image Centre
Paul Roth
, Director, Ryerson Image Centre (Toronto, Canada)

6:20 p.m. Symposium Introduction
Dr.
Thierry Gervais, Assistant Professor, School of Image Arts, Ryerson University; and Head of Research, Ryerson Image Centre (Toronto, Canada)

6:30 p.m. Opening Keynote Address – “Find and Seek: Museum Collecting Strategies”
Quentin Bajac
, The Joel and Anne Ehrenkranz Chief Curator, Department of Photography, Museum of Modern Art (New York, USA)


FRIDAY, MAY 2, 2014

9:00 a.m. – Doors open

BUILDING PUBLIC PHOTOGRAPHIC COLLECTIONS
(Moderator: Dr. Gaëlle Morel, Exhibitions Curator, Ryerson Image Centre, Toronto, Canada)

9:25 a.m. – Panel Introduction
Dr. Gaëlle Morel

9:30 a.m. – “Collecting after Collectors: The Gernsheim Legacy at the Harry Ransom Center”
Dr. Jessica S. McDonald
, Chief Curator, Department of Photography, Harry Ransom Center (Austin, USA)

10:20 a.m. – “The Shifting Identity of a Collection”
Peter Higdon
, Collections Curator, Ryerson Image Centre (Toronto, Canada)

11:10 a.m. to 11:40 a.m. – Coffee break

11:40 a.m. – "Present and Absent: What We Don't Collect"
Philip Brookman
, Chief Curator and Head of Research, Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington DC, USA)

12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Lunch break

COLLECTING PHOTOGRAPHS
(Moderator: David Harris, Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director, Film and
Photography Preservation and Collections Management, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada)

2:00 p.m. – Panel Introduction
David Harris

2:05 p.m. – “The Raven’s Story: 45 Years of Collecting Photographs”
Wm. B. Becker
, collector (Detroit, USA)

2:45 p.m. – “How I Became a Collector”
Gregory V. Gooding
, collector (New York, USA)

3:25 p.m. – “A Shared Vision: The Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Collection”
Fred Bidwell
, collector (Cleveland, USA)

4:05 p.m. to 4:25 p.m. – Break

4:25 p.m. – Panel Discussion – “Toronto Collectors in Conversation”
Steven Evans, Harry and Ann Malcolmson,
and Dr. Kenneth Montague
 

SATURDAY, MAY 3, 2014

9:00 a.m. – Doors open

PHOTOGRAPHIC COLLECTIONS IN PERSPECTIVE
(Moderator: Dr. Thierry Gervais, Assistant Professor, School of Image Arts, Ryerson University
and Head of Research, Ryerson Image Centre, Toronto, Canada)

9:25 a.m. – Panel Introduction
Dr. Thierry Gervais

9:30 a.m. – “The Album, the Art Market, and the Archives”
Dr. Joan M. Schwartz
, Associate Professor and Queen’s National Scholar, Queen’s University (Kingston, Canada)

10:20 a.m. – “When the Carousel stops turning … what shall we say about the slide show?”
Dr. Martha Langford, Professor, Concordia University (Montreal, Canada)

11:10 a.m. to 11:40 a.m. – Coffee break

11:40 a.m. – “The ‘Snapshot’ and the ‘Art Museum:’ Collectors, Institutions, and the Myth of the Common Man”
Dr. Anne McCauley
, David H. McAlpin Professor of the History of Photography and Modern Art, Princeton University (Princeton, USA)

12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Lunch break

PASSEURS OF PHOTOGRAPHS
(Moderator: Paul Roth, Director, Ryerson Image Centre, Toronto, Canada)

2:00 p.m. – Panel Introduction
Paul Roth

2:05 p.m. – “The Hallmark Photographic Collection: A History of Creative Patronage”
Keith F. Davis
, Senior Curator, Photography, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City, USA)

2:55 p.m. – “Passeurs and Sites of Passage: Curating in the Expanded Field”
Dr. Kevin Moore
, Curator (New York, USA)

3:45 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. – Break

4:15 p.m. – “The Evolution of a Very Personal Collection”
Howard Greenberg
, Director, Howard Greenberg Gallery (New York City, USA)

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