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From the time of photography’s invention in 1839, the camera was considered an ideal device for copying. Early photographers looked for subjects in existing works of art, especially sculpture and architecture. Long exposure times required such immobile subjects. These photographs go beyond the documentary, however, by placing the sculptures in contexts that create complex narratives. By capturing specific moments in time, the camera imparts a different sense of history than the other works in this exhibition.
Artist unknown (French), Chimeras, South Tower, Notre Dame, Paris, c. 1855. Albumen print on paper, mounted on canvas. © Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts. Gift of Paul Katz, 1995.6.2