A few weeks ago, Tim and I were, by chance, both in New York City at the same time and were lucky enough to enjoy a look around the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition of new photography acquisitions with Leslie Ureña and Lee Ann Daffner of the museum’s photography department.
As we walked through the galleries, we headed directly for the reason we were there: a case containing forty-four Photomatic photographs of a woman, taken over a relatively brief span of time.
The photographs are remarkably unvaried: no one else, save a tiny sliver of a child’s arm and head in one photo, ever shares the frame with the woman. The frames are both metal and paper, with a few varieties of each type represented, and the photos are, for the most part, in good shape.
I’m curious to see if any of the photos feature interesting markings on the back, but that will have to wait until the exhibition is taken down. The photos are great to see up close, and the rest of the show, including a terrific batch of photos by Richard Avedon, is open through March, 2010, and is well worth seeing.
We’re grateful to Leslie, Lee Ann, and Sarah Meister, as well, for setting up our little meeting. We’re always encouraged when we see photobooth photos in a museum setting, and to see their significance and their narrative power taken seriously in the grand scheme of the history of photography.