A Generous Medium: Photography at Wellesley 1972-2012, is a landmark exhibition tracing the evolution of the Davis photography collection through the many people who have influenced its course, featuring a stunning range of images taken by some of photography’s most iconic image makers. The exhibition will be free and open to the public.
Mined from the extensive photographic holdings, this innovative exhibition features more than
100 works selected for interpretation by more than sixty participants—Davis directors and
curators, Wellesley faculty, alumnae in the field, and major donors—all of whom have had an
instrumental role in the shape and pedagogical use of the collection over the last forty years. The selections are organized unconventionally, by date of acquisition, which allows for serendipitous and revealing juxtapositions, surprising connections and startling revelations.
The exhibition and the accompanying catalogue feature an eloquent range of pictures, from
anonymous early photographs to works by renowned contemporary artists. This diversity
reflects the impassioned engagement of innumerable contributors over time, and the
aspirational ambitions and exuberant inventiveness of the photographic project at Wellesley
From William Henry Fox Talbot’s Oriel Window at Lacock Abbey, (a print from one of the
oldest photographic negatives in existence) to the contemporary works of Cindy Sherman
and James Casebere (acquired to celebrate this major exhibition), photographs by some of
history’s most iconic image makers–Ansel Adams, Berenice Abbott, Diane Arbus, Eugène
Atget, Bill Brandt, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, Lee Friedlander, Nan Goldin,
Gertrude Käsebier, André Kertész, Danny Lyon, Susan Meiselas, Laura McPhee,
Abelardo Morell, Nicholas Nixon, Lorraine O’Grady, Edward Ruscha, Fazal Sheikh, Jem
Southam, Carrie Mae Weems, Edward Weston, Garry Winogrand, and more–will be on
With a wide range of techniques represented, the collection tells the story of photography
over nearly two centuries, helping us understand why and how images are made and the
important role the medium has had in shaping visual culture.