Friday, February 10, 2012

Philadelphia Museum of Art. 35mm: Photographs from the Collection

35mm: Photographs from the Collection
February 11, 2012 - May 27, 2012

From the first roll-film Leica in the 1920s to the familiar disposable cardboard Kodak, the handheld 35mm camera became a ubiquitous and indispensable photographic tool in the twentieth century. Its compact design permitted nearly effortless transport, easy concealment, and fast shutter speeds, and its roll film allowed for rapid advancement from one frame to the next. First called the miniature camera because it could be tucked into a pocket and discreetly operated without a tripod or other bulky equipment, the 35mm camera afforded photographers the ability to easily capture their subjects unawares. The technical limitations of 35mm photography also fostered a distinctive aesthetic: it had limited depth of field, and when enlarged, prints betrayed the grain of the film and lost detail. But the pros outweighed the cons, and throughout the twentieth century, the medium opened up countless new possibilities for candid picture-making that transformed the practices of amateurs, photojournalists, and artists alike.
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