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Two Horses Next to Broken car

Detail from the photograph Inspecting the German Losses on the Outskirts of Odessa 1944 by Dmitry Baltermants, Booth Family Center for Special Collections


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Beasts of Burden

Online Exhibitions
December 19, 2018
December 31, 2018


Photography, an art that seems to be the face of Modernism, existed before many of the inventions we consider staples of the modern age. While there were prototypes of the automobile that predate the daguerreotype, which became publicly available in 1839, large-scale manufacturing of affordable cars was not in effect until 1901. Therefore, twentieth-century photographers had the privilege of documenting the transition from beasts of burden to motorized vehicle. Russian photographer Dmitry Baltermants captured the intersection of the two in his iconic images of World War II when vehicles dominated but officers still entered battle scenes on horseback.

Men on horses examine damaged cars

Inspecting the German Losses on the Outskirts of Odessa (1944)
gelatin silver print 
Dmitry Baltermants

Motorcycles and cars underneath telephone wires

Route 90, Alabama (1964)
gelatin silver print
Danny Lyon

Women on donkeys

Women on donkeys (film strip montage)
gelatin silver print
Danny Lyon

The Slave Market

Croix des Bossales (The Slave Market), Port-au-Prince (1983-1986)
gelatin silver print
Danny Lyon

Ships on a pond near a farmhouse

A Broadman's Cottage (1886)
platinum print from a glass negative
Peter Henry Emerson

Man with four bulls

Farmer with Bullocks, India (1943)
gelatin silver print
William Witt

Cars and Farm Animals on road near Coca Cola advertisement

Access to Carter Bridge, the Main Roadway to Lagos, Nigeria (1959-64)
gelatin silver print
Ken Heyman

Two soldiers pointing at a downed plane

Downed German Plane, Breslau (1945)
gelatin silver print
Dmitry Baltermants

Migrant on the way to Oregon from South Dakota with packed car

Migrant to Oregon from South Dakota (1936)
gelatin silver print
Arthur Rothstein

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--Katie O’Hara, University Art Collection Curatorial Intern and Graduate Student in Art and Museum Studies (Fall 2018)