True to Life: Color
Photography, 1860 to 1960
September 7th through October 27th, 2007
Opening reception: Friday, September 7th, 7pm to 9pm

Michael Dawson Gallery
535 North Larchmont Boulevard (Limited free parking in our lot), Los Angeles, California 90004
(323) 469-2186, FAX (323) 469-9553
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James Doolittle, “Claudette Colbert”, Three Color Carbro, c. 1940.

Michael Dawson Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition exploring the development of color photography between 1860 and 1960. Featured in the exhibition are photographs by Giorgio Sommer, William Henry Jackson, Karl Struss, James Doolittle, Eliot Porter, Harry Callahan, William Mortensen, and Harold Edgerton among others. From hand-colored daguerreotypes to dye transfer prints, this exhibition focuses on photographic images that attempted to bring the viewer into a seamless relationship with the scene depicted through the integration of various color processes. Beginning in the nineteenth century, the impetus to add color to the photographic image was fueled by the desire to increase the sale of commercial portraiture as well as landscape views sold to tourists making the “Grand Tour” of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. In the early twentieth century the development of the Autochrome process led to the acceptance of color photography among amateur and artist/photographers such as Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, and Karl Struss.

By the 1930s the conflicting demands of art and commerce were particularly evident in the realm of color photography. The cost and difficulty of producing durable and long lasting color photographs such as the three color carbro print lead to the primary use of color photography in the fields of advertising and journalism. Despite the difficulties, the pioneers of color photography fostered a unique aesthetic vision based on the demands of commercial portraiture, tourism, advertising, and journalism. The technical, commercial, and artistic developments in the field of color photography between 1860 and 1960 paved the way for the wide spread acceptance of color photography in the 1970s as a valid medium for fine art photography and contemporary art.

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