"A Fragile Memory" at Providence library
From my review of "A Fragile Memory" at the Providence Public Library's Special Collections Hall:
There is a golden formula in photography: photo plus time equals increasing allure. Old books and poetry, old television and movies can turn stilted, tedious. But photos seem to grow ever more compelling with age, even if the shots were boring when they were first made. It's something about the magnetism of the data frozen in the photographic moment — the clothes and architecture, the hair and cars. Even if you don't know the people or place in the photo, it draws you in. It's a glimpse into the past, a jolt of nostalgia, a tantalizing mystery.Read the rest here.
This holds true in "A Fragile Memory," a magical — though at times frustrating — selection of 39 photos newly printed from an archive of 1000 glass plate negatives dating as far back as 1876 in the Providence Public Library's special collections. The photos, on view with some of the original negatives in the library's Special Collections Hall, were printed at AS220's community darkrooms by exhibition organizer Agata Michalowska, darkroom manager Scott Lapham, and other members of the darkroom gang. The past documented here is somewhat familiar and yet strange, an exotic land a century away.
Also while you're at it, check out "Notes for Bibliophiles," a blog by Providence Public Library special collections librarian Richard Ring.
"A Fragile Memory," Providence Public Library's Special Collections Hall, 150 Empire Street, third floor, Providence, June 1 to 27, 2009.