Pre-Conference Symposium
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How 19th-Century Photography Is the Basis for All Subsequent Photographic Art Including Contemporary Photography 

Presented by the Daguerreian Society

October 20, 2016, at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel, New York City


A one-day symposium on “How the 19th Century Is the Basis for All Subsequent Photographic Art” will be held on October 20th in the Grand Ballroom of the Wyndham. is special program will feature a panel session with top contemporary artists discussing how 19th-century photography and its processes have influenced their work, and presentations by curators and collectors on why they include 19th-century photography along with modern photography in their collections.

The Symposium fee includes the full Thursday Program, the Thursday evening Grand Reception and Silent Auction, and early bird admission at 9:15 a.m. to Saturday's 19th-Century Photography Show.

How the 19th-Century Is the Basis for All Subsequent Photographic Art

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Contemporary Art Photographers and 19th-Century Photography/Processes

9:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Presenters: Sarah Greenough, National Gallery of Art; Artists Adam Fuss, Vera Lutter, Chris McCaw, Jerry Spagnoli

Sarah Greenough, Head Curator of Photography for the National Gallery of Art will moderate a panel of top contemporary artists that includes Adam Fuss, Vera Lutter, Chris McCaw, and Jerry Spagnoli. Each of the artists will give a short presentation and then there will be a panel discussion on “How Contemporary Art Photographers Are Influenced and Impacted by 19th-Century Photography and Its Processes.”
Sarah Greenough is senior curator and head of the department of photographs at theNationalGallery of Art,Washington, where she has worked since 1978. She has organized numerous exhibitions at the Gallery from Robert Frank to Garry Winogrand and is the author of many publications, from Walker Evans: Subways and Streets (1991) to My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz, Volume One, 1915–1933, Yale University Press (2011). 

Adam Fuss grew up in rural England, where he first began to document the natural environment through photography, which led to an experimentation with unconventional photographic processes and his eventual abandonment of the camera altogether. Fuss’s work is distinctive for its contemporary reinterpretation of photography’s earliest techniques, particularly the cameraless methods of the daguerreotype and photogram. Now living in New York, Fuss’s work is represented in many American and international collections.



Vera Lutter was born in 1960 in Kaiserslautern, Germany. She graduated in 1991 from the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, and received her M.F.A. in 1995 from the School of Visual Arts, New York. Lutter’s images have been exhibited in many solo and group exhibitions. She currently lives and works in New York City.

In the early 1990s, the artist undertook her first experiments with the medium of pinhole photography. To capture a direct imprint of her environment, Lutter transformed the loft in which she lived into a camera obscura. Through the aperture of a pinhole an inverted image of the outside world was projected onto mural-sized sheets of photographic paper. Refraining from the reproducibility warranted by conventional photography, the artist retained the unique negative print in an effort to maintain the immediacy of her images.

At age thirteen, Chris McCaw’s mom forced him to take a photo course at the community center. He got hooked instantly. Concurrently, McCaw spent his youth in the ’80s and ’90s punk and skateboarding scenes, taking the “DIY” motto of those cultures and applying it to photography. The first camera he built in 1995 was a 7x17" view camera to make contact negatives for platinum prints. Over the ensuing decades — and particularly with his Sunburn project — McCaw has used photographic materials, especially expired gelatin silver paper, in groundbreaking ways. His work is held in numerous public collections, and in 2012 his monograph Sunburn was published by Candela Books.

Jerry Spagnoli is currently working on several projects including two ongoing historical documentation series, “Local Stories” and “The Last Great Daguerreian Survey of the Twentieth Century.” The common thread among all his projects is the exploration of the interplay between information and knowledge. Taking the camera and photosensitive materials as the traditional standard for objectivity Spagnoli explores the ways that subjectivity is the inevitable basis of all knowledge. His most recent book, Heirloom Harvest, was published by Bloomsbury in 2015. His other monographs include American Dreaming and Daguerreotypes and the soon-to-be-published Regard.

Resurrecting the Important: How the 19th Century Might Save Contemporary Photography

1:30 – 2:30 PM

Presenter: Denise Bethel

Recent years have seen a number of contemporary photographers turn to 19th-century photographic processes, from the daguerreotype, ambrotype, and tintype to the wet plate and the camera obscura.  What things do these anachronistic methods bring to the field of contemporary photography?  Is it possible to re-direct a medium accustomed to the speed and ease of a cell phone camera?  This talk will explore what might be learned from the photographers of the 19th century and how these lessons are being used by some of the most adventurous artists of today.

Denise Bethel is the former Chairman of the New York Photographs Department of Sotheby’s auction house. Denise Bethel joined Sotheby’s in 1990. Since then, the Photographs Department, under her leadership, transformed the world auction market for photographs, setting nearly every major record. Bethel hammered down the most expensive classic photograph ever sold at auction, The Pond—Moonlight by Edward Steichen, at $2,928,000. Her last auction outing at the recent “175 Masterworks to Celebrate 175 Years of Photography: Property from Joy of Giving Something Foundation,” brought in $21.3 million, which is a record for a single-owner collection of photographs sold at auction and even for any type single photographs auction.

Silver Meditations: Cross-Currents in the History of Photography from the Mattis-Hochberg Collection

2:40 – 3:30 PM

Presenter: Collector Michael Mattis

Michael will recount various adventures from over three decades of collecting vintage photographs, with an emphasis on the often-surprising connections between 19th- and 20th-century photography.

Michael Mattis, a theoretical physicist, along with his wife Judy Hochberg, a linguist, has over the past 30 years assembled a comprehensive collection of vintage photographs from the inception of the medium through the 1970s. A dozen traveling museum exhibitions have been curated from their collection, including “Through the Looking Glass: Daguerreotype Masterworks from the Dawn of Photography”; “For my best beloved sister Mia: an album of photographs by Julia Margaret Cameron”; “Picturing the West: Masterworks of 19th-Century Landscape Photography”; “Photo-Secession: Painterly Masterworks of Turn-of-the-Century Photography”; “‘Our Strength Is Our People’: The Humanist Photographs of Lewis Hine”; “Dorothea Lange's America; Disfarmer: e Vintage Prints;” “Edward Weston: Life Work”; “Ansel Adams: Early Works”; “Arbus, Frank, Penn: Masterworks of Post-War American Photography”; and another, the 200-print survey "Live and Life Will Give You Pictures: Masterworks of French Photography, 1890–1950,” will premiere this fall at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia.

Why I Collect 19th-Century through Contemporary Photography, and How 19th-Century Photography Has Influenced My Contemporary Choices

3:30 – 4:15 PM

Presenter: Collector Dan Solomon

Collector Dan Solomon will discuss how originally collecting 19th-century photography influenced his subsequent classic and contemporary photography collection.

Dan Solomon is a member of the Getty Museum’s Photographs Council, and is an active supporter of many museum’s photography programs, including e National Gallery of Art, The Getty Museum, SFMOMA, The Art Institute of Chicago, International Center of Photography, MoMA, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and The Smithsonian American Art Museum. He and his wife Mary are long-time photo collectors with an interest in early historical work through to the most current contemporary art photography. They are currently building an important collection of the work of Eugene Atget. Dan has curated numerous exhibitions, the most recent being “Surveying the Terrain” at the Contemporary Art Museum Raleigh, N.C. 

Grand Reception

7:00 – 9:00 PM

Symposium attendees are also welcome to join Conference attendees at the Grand Reception that evening in the Grand Ballroom at the Wyndham. This is an occasion to meet fellow attendees and presenters, as well as meet and mingle with Society Annual Conference attendees. Heavy hors d’oeuvres will include carving stations, etc. A paid bar will also be available.

Silent Auction

The Grand Reception will also offer a selection of items on Silent Auction that night. This year, in addition to images, the Silent Auction will feature rare bottles of wine, photography books, restaurant certificates, a hotel weekend package, and much more.

Other Events

Howard Greenberg Gallery will have a related special exhibit of contemporary art using antiquarian photography methods, “A New and Mysterious Art: Ancient Photographic Methods in Contemporary Art,” curated by Jerry Spagnoli, that will be on view from September 15 to October 29. The show includes work by Takashi Arai, Stephen Berkman, Dan Estabrook, Adam Fuss, Luther Gerlach, Vera Lutter, Sally Mann, Matthias Olmeta, France Scully Osterman & Mark Osterman, and Craig Tuffin. A special reception at the gallery is planned for Friday night, October 21st for attendees from 6:45-9 pm.

There will also be a reception at Hans P. Kraus, Jr. Fine Photographs on Friday night.

2016 19th-Century Photography Show

Symposium attendees’ badges will also get them in early at 9:15 am into the 19th-Century Photography Show on Saturday. Normally the Early Bird rate for the show is $50, but Symposium attendees get in free. This is the largest for-sale exhibition of 19th-century photography ever with over 110 tables and 15 exhibit booths with over 100 exhibitors, including most of the top 19th-century photographer dealers and galleries in the world from ten countries. This one-day event will be open from 9:15 am to 4:15 p.m. 

How to Join and/or Register for the Programs 

For more information on membership in the Society and this year's 19th-century photography events, just visit

If you want to join as member, you can either do this securely on the website by credit card, PayPal, or electronic check, or call Diane Filippi at 1-412-221-0306 (M, Tu, or Th, from 9–5 p.m. EST).

For more information on membership in the Society and this year's 19th-century photography events, just go here. And register hereOr print and fill out the form available in PDF here, and return it to: The Daguerreian Society, PO Box 306, Cecil, PA 15321.

Symposium Sponsors

I Photo Central
Skinner Auctioneers & Appraisers