A fragile memory: Turn of the century glass negatives from Providence Public Library’s Special Collections Department
Monday, June 1st – Saturday, June 27th 2009
Opening Reception June 1st, 6-8pm
Decades ago, more than 1,000 glass plate negatives were tucked away in the Special Collections of the Providence Public Library. Now, at long last, approximately two dozen plates will be hand printed and revealed to the public. Curated by Agata Michalowska, this exhibit was brought to fruition through close collaboration with local photographers working out of the AS220 Paul Krot Community Darkrooms.
Plates representing topics ranging from industrial interiors to local family portraiture and landscapes will be on display. This exhibit, valuable in its own right as a community resource will serve another purpose as well. Proceeds from sales of the photographs will be used to provide for the long term archival storage of these delicate plates.
During the opening reception of this free event, local experts will help the community further imagine the stories these photographs suggest. James DaMico, the Rhode Island Historical Society’s Graphics Archivist, will talk about the technical development of photography. Richard Ring, Providence’s Special Collections Librarian, will offer a historic perspective on the city at the turn of the 20th century.
The contemporary use of the glass plate technique will be presented by Paul Taylor, a Master Photogravure Plate Maker, Director of Renaissance Press and an instructor at Rhode Island School of Design.
At the reception, additional artifacts will be shown, including a turn of the century camera and a magic lantern.
AS220’s Paul Krot Community Darkrooms are the only public B&W facilities in Rhode Island. Their mission includes accessibility for all artists, affordable space, and providing low and no-cost educational opportunities. The Special Collections department houses over 40,000 books, posters, pamphlets, photographs, broadsides, manuscripts, and other artifacts in an attempt to preserve, augment, and provide public access to these collections.