In its earliest days, photography was celebrated for its potential to create a historical record with unparalleled accuracy. History itself was thought to be one of the new medium’s most important subjects. Not only could photographs document extant remnants of the past, they could also record moments in the present that would soon pass into history. Consequently, early proponents argued that history would effectively begin anew in the photographic age and be re-imagined in photographic images. Histories/Photographies explores how these two disciplines are inextricable, with history being one of photography’s primary subjects, and photography itself being subject to history.
Photography’s rich entanglement with history has become a renewed source of inspiration in contemporary practice. This exhibition brings together the work of several Chicago artists who take the evolving dialogue between history and photography as their subject. Through an array of strategies, these artists record the traces of the past that exist in the present, mine the telling and dissemination of photography’s own history, and engage with the ever-evolving materiality of photographs. Their work reveals that history, and the history of photography in particular, is not merely an episodic succession of events, innovations, and movements, but rather a far more complex layering of recordings, encounters, and perspectives through and across time.
Featured artists: Jeremy Bolen, Alan Cohen, Adam Ekberg, Myra Greene, Shane Huffman, Barbara Kasten, Jason Lazarus, Aspen Mays, John Opera, Jason Reblando, David Schalliol, Matthew Schlagbaum, Adam Schreiber