A Spectacularly Brief History of Photography
Museums á la Carte Lecture Series
November 14, 12:15 pm–1 pm
Cost: $4; Cost for Members: $2
D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts
Followed by Continuing Conversations (Member only)
The Springfield Museums presents a lecture by photographer and Springfield Technical Community College professor Sondra Peron, titled A Spectacularly Brief History of Photography, Thursday, November 14, at 12:15 pm. The presentation, which explores how photography helps shape visual culture, is part of the popular lunchtime lecture series Museums á la Carte. The lecture will be followed by a docent-led Continuing Conversation on photography in the Community Gallery, for members only.
Sondra Peron, Assistant Professor of Art and Cultural Programming and Gallery Coordinator of the Amy H. Carberry Fine Arts Gallery at Springfield Technical Community College, is a photographer whose work integrates historical and philosophical issues producing photographs beautifully abstract in visual nature while also deeply meaningful in historical context.
Peron’s photo series Atrocity Landscapes, for instance, captures black and white abstractions from the sites of US Civil War battlefields to Somme trenches and Verdun forts. “The images reveal our collective historical memory as it inhabits our landscape today,” Peron said.
She offers through her photography an opportunity for contemporary viewers to juxtapose the current landscape with its historical context, challenging the viewer to reconsider the landscape. “These photographs bridge the gap between the past and the present through a reinterpretation of how landscapes serve as witness to humanity’s worst conflicts,” Peron said.
In her lecture, A Spectacularly Brief History of Photography, Peron explores the idea that since the birth of photography in 1839, the photographer has played an important role in helping form our collective visual culture. Peron will survey photographic work from the earliest daguerreotypes in the 19th century to the digital works of the present, highlighting such photographers as Louis Daguerre (French, 1787-1851), Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946), Robert Capa (Hungarian-American, 1913-1954), Dorothea Lange (American, 1895-1965), Elliott Erwitt (American, born 1928), Richard Avedon (American, 1933-2004), Graciela Iturbide (Mexican, born 1945), Jeffrey Wall (Canadian, born 1946), and Sally Mann (American, born 1951). Peron will focus on photographic technology as a development concurrent with the photographer’s exploration of cultural, social, economic, and political issues to help form of our collective historical memory.
About Daguerre’s View of the Boulevard du Temple
The image attached to this press release has a fascinating story. Daguerre’s View of the Boulevard du Temple, 1839, is an early and significant example of the first successful photographic technique called daguerreotype, Peron said. “Exposing a copper plate coated in silver and sensitized with iodine to light in the camera, Daguerre then held the plate over heated mercury vapor to ‘fix’ and make permanent the image,” Peron explained.
Given a long exposure time, likely 10-15 minutes, people walking the busy streets of Paris did not register on the copper plate. “Despite the inability of this new technique to capture people moving,” Peron said, “this photograph is considered one of the first photographic images of a human being with an individual standing still in the lower left-hand corner getting their shoes shined.”
To learn more about the history of photography, join Peron at the Museums a la Carte lecture, A Spectacularly Brief History of Photography, Thursday, November 14, at 12:15 pm at the Springfield Museums.
Continuing Conversation: Photography
November 14, 1–1:30 pm
Following the Museums a la Carte lecture with Professor Sondra Peron, docent Deena Maniscalchi will lead a tour and discussion of the special exhibition People at Work and Other Environmental Portraits by Tad Malek in the Community Gallery. For Museums Members only.
About Sondra Peron
Sondra Peron grew up in Connecticut and resides in Northampton, Massachusetts. She is currently on the faculty at Springfield Technical Community College where she teaches photography as well as conducting independent studies with advanced students, and academic advising. She has also taught traditional and digital photography at Hampshire College, Holyoke Community College, and at her alma mater Northwestern Connecticut Community College.
Peron has produced a significant body of work using vintage cameras, most notably the Brownie Hawkeye manufactured by Kodak from the late 1940s to early 1960s. Her photography has been exhibited in solo, two-person, and group shows throughout New England, Maryland, Tennessee, and China.
Her work was featured in a special issue of Afterimage: The Aesthetics of Atrocity, Cerise Press: A Journal of Literature, Art and Culture and The Sun Magazine. Work can also be found in the collections of the Mortimer Rare Book Room in Neilson Library at Smith College, and private collections. She has served as a guest artist and lecturer at the Smith College Museum of Art, Skidmore College, Hampshire College, and Brown University.
She holds her MFA in Photography from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland. She graduated as an Ada Comstock Scholar from Smith College with a BA in Philosophy in 1998.
About Museums á la Carte
Museums á la Carte is the Springfield Museums’ popular lunchtime lecture series. Guests are welcome to bring a lunch to enjoy during the program. Cookies and coffee are provided thanks to Big Y. The cost for admission to the lecture is $2 for Springfield Museums members and $4 for nonmembers.
Free onsite parking is available. For more information about Museums à la Carte, call 413.263.6800, ext. 488.
On Exhibit at the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts:
The Art of Observation: The Best of Photographer Elliott Erwitt
Through January 12, 2020
People at Work and Other Environmental Portraits by Tad Malek
Through–July 12, 2020