A Generous Medium: Photography at Wellesley, 1972-2012

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Oak Tree in Winter, early 1840's Salt Type From A Calotype Negative 7 5/8 X 6 9/16 In. © Museum purchase with funds provided by Wellesley College Friends of Art
Fatuma Hussein Gulo and her sister Sharifa, feeding center, Somali refugee camp, Mandera, Kenya, 1992 (printed 2003) Toned Gelatin Silver Print Mounted To Aluminum 16 3/ X 12 1/2 In © Museum Purchase The Dorothy Johnston Towne (Class of 1923) Fund
Sarah Bernhardt, 1878 Albumen Print 5 3/4 X 4 1/4 © Anonymous gift
Untitled (Bus Riders), 1976 (printed 2005) Gelatin Silver Prints 17 7/16 In. X 5 In. © Museum purchase with funds provided by Wellesley College Friends of Art
A Generous Medium: Photography at Wellesley, 1972-2012

106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481
September 12th, 2012 - December 16th, 2012
Opening: September 12th, 2012 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

United States
Tuesday–Sunday, 11 am-5 pm
Wellesley College
Wellesley College, photography, photography


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
writ large.

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.