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The evolution of travel imagery explored in Kroch exhibition

An exhibition examining the evolution of travel imagery at the dawn of still photography will be on display through late summer at Kroch Library.

Oscar Diedrich von Engeln is pictured developing film in Alaska, circa. 1905.

“World Picture: Travel Imagery Before and After Photography” will open with a reception March 21 from 4:30-6 p.m. in the library’s Hirshland Exhibition Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through Sept. 13.

Drawing from the library’s Rare and Manuscript Collections and works from the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, this exhibition examines how published travel imagery created and spread geographical knowledge in the 19th century. That was a period of rapid and extraordinary change in how people traveled, represented and understood the world.

After photography’s debut in 1839, the new medium was seen as uniquely suited to the task of accurately describing geography. At the same time, traditional illustration methods such as wood engravings, etchings and lithographs offered varied and romanticized interpretations of their subjects in a growing number of publications dedicated to travel and exploration.

“World Picture” explores the roles of authenticity and aesthetics in the success of the Western project to teach audiences about faraway places, through a glimpse into travel literature from nearly two centuries ago.

This exhibition is funded through the support of the Stephen E. ’58, MBA ’59 and Evalyn Edwards ’60 Milman Exhibition Fund.

– Tom Fleischman

Media Contact

Gillian Smith