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"Past Time: Photographic Exchange" on View at the Demuth Museum
Ferdinand Demuth, Untitled (Penn Square), 1907, Selenium toned gelatin silver print, (c) 2008 Demuth Museum, Lancaster, PA.
LANCASTER, PA.- The Demuth Museum will present Past Time: Photographic Exchange, an exhibition of historical photography by two members of the Lancaster Camera Club, Ferdinand Demuth (1857-1911) and William D. Zell (1854-1923), along with contemporary works by Philadelphia artist Wil Lindsay. The embrace of photography by thousands of amateur users like Demuth and Zell captured America’s explosive transformation at the turn of the 20th century from an agrarian to an industrial society and from the Victorian to modern age. Ferdinand Demuth, father to modernist artist Charles Demuth, was a prolific amateur photographer who actively recorded scenes of Lancaster city life and rural and industrial landscapes during this dynamic period. A collection of Ferdinand Demuth’s glass plate negatives are in the permanent collection of the Demuth Museum, along with the modern prints to be showcased in this exhibition. William D. Zell produced most of his photographs in the form of glass lantern slides. Magic Lantern slide shows were a wildly popular form of entertainment during this era, and Zell used this medium to explore a variety of subjects, from idyllic landscapes to live events.

Complementing the historical aspect of the exhibition will be work by Wil Lindsay, Visiting Professor of Interactive Media at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Lindsay’s TimeFrames series of digital lantern slides explores his interest in the processes of time and memory through his melding of obsolete photographic technology with that of the 21st century. Lindsay’s subject matter encompasses touchstones of technical achievement throughout photography’s history – the self-portrait, natural and industrial landscapes and live events. At the same time, Lindsay’s images both rely upon and circumvent the capabilities of the cutting edge digital media of the 21st century. Their abstracted forms and shadowy figures comprise neither a singular instant, nor a fixed viewpoint, and evoke half-forgotten moments and fading visual memories.

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