Before the advent of digital cameras, photography required artists to spend time in a dark room developing their photographs. These hours dedicated to perfecting their craft left much time for introspection. Moreover, with the introduction of the 35 mm film cameras in the early twentieth century, photographers could take cameras to new isolated places without the fear of lugging expensive equipment with them. This photo essay explores eight works in the Perry Collection that convey this sense of isolation.
Portrait of a Young Man in an Abandoned Room (1967) gelatin silver print Danny Lyon
Barbara, Switzerland (in narrow alley, standing looking downward) (ca. 1957) dye transfer print Harry Callahan
The Market, Port-au-Prince (1983-1986) gelatin silver print Danny Lyon
The East side of Washington Street Between Reade and Chambers Streets (1966-67) gelatin silver print Danny Lyon
Rejstejn, Czech republic (1994) gelatin silver print Michael A. Smith
Snowed-in City Street at Night (1939) gelatin silver print William Witt
Uffington Horse, Oxfordshire, England (1985) gelatin silver print (selenium-toned) Marilyn Bridges
El Parícutin, Michoacán, Mexico (ca. 1925) photographic print (monochrome) Hugo Brehme
Isolation does not require the physical isolation that Marilyn Bridges achieves through her photographs from an airplane, but can also have a very physical presence. Some of the photographs depicted here require at least two people, photographer and subject, but a sense of loneliness permeates the scene.
--Katie O’Hara, University Art Collection Curatorial Intern and Graduate Student in Art and Museum Studies (Fall 2018)