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76 KISSES: Snapshots from the Collection of Lori Baker and David E. Brown
© Lori Baker and David E. Brown. 76 KISSES: Snapshots from the Collection of Lori Baker and David E. Brown.
BROOKLYN, NY.-A soldier’s parting kiss, a summer kiss at a picnic, a midnight kiss on New Year’s Eve, a lusty kiss not meant to be seen. Luckily, a camera was present to capture all of them. 76 KISSES, an exhibition of snapshots at The City Reliquary, presents an intimate and compelling look at the kiss. Just in time for Valentine’s Day!

The carefully selected vintage photographs comprise a catalog of the kiss. Each photo captures some essential quality of love and affection—the unguarded moment when two people, overcome with emotion, find their lips meeting another’s.

The photos span a full century, from a risqué and intimate smooch in a Victorian parlor to a 1990s Polaroid of a New York couple at a dance, with its super-saturated color and long embrace the very opposite of the 19th century image. The core of the collection are snapshots from the 1930s through the 1960s, widely considered the Golden Age of the American snapshot. 76 KISSES showcases the inventive, intuitive, and surprising explosion of creativity that small cameras and fast film brought.

The photographs in 76 KISSES come from Lori Baker and David E. Brown’s collection of more than 200 vintage snapshots of kisses. They have been culled from flea markets, junk shops, photo albums, yard sales, eBay, and chance finds. Baker and Brown estimate that they have looked at approximately 800,000 photographs in the search of these pictures.

Vernacular photography–that is, snapshots–has become the newest and most democratic frontier of photography collecting. Thousands of people have found art, beauty, and meaning amid billions of discarded snapshots. Vernacular photographs have been the subject of several major exhibitions, including the National Gallery’s “The Art of the American Snapshot” (opening at the Amon Carter Museum on February 16), Thomas Walther’s “Other Pictures” at the Metropolitan Museum, and “Snapshots” at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Snapshots and their collectors have been the subject of an award-winning documentary (Other People’s Pictures) and created numerous books, including Babette Hines’s Photobooth and Mark Michaelson’s Least Wanted.

76 KISSES is on view at the City Reliquary from February 1 to March 31, 2008. The opening reception is Friday, February 8, from 7 to 9 pm. The City Reliquary is open Saturdays and Sundays from 12 pm to 6 pm and by appointment.





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