In a new exhibit in Austin, the history of photography clicks forward

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin

Austin American-Statesman

February 9, 2016

Among the more than 5 million items in its renowned photo collection, the University of Texas’ Ransom Center claims the world’s first photograph (made in 1826 or 1827) and keeps it on permanent display.

The center is particularly rich with photographs from 19th-century including the work Victorian pioneers such as Lewis Carroll and Julia Margaret Cameron.

Thankfully the Ransom Center isn’t resting on its laurels.

In a new exhibit opening today, the research archive unveils some of its especially important recent acquisitions of contemporary innovators whose experiments with photographic process push the medium forward.

Starting today and continuing through May 29, nearly 200 photographs go on display for the first time in Look Inside: New Photography Acquisitions.

Photography curator Jessica S. McDonald has done a very admiral job of adding photographs to the collection that continue the story of what could be considered a very democratic art form.

McDonald unveils work made during particularly vibrant periods in the medium’s artistic evolution, such as the American “photo boom” of the 1960s and 1970s during which artist like Betty Hahn who shook up the formalities of the medium.

Also now a part of the Ransom Center’s story of the history of photography are images by current artists like Alejandro Cartagena who offer a vision that is decidedly contemporary.

Admission to the Ransom Center is free and it’s open every day of the week.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays (Thursdays until 7 p.m.), noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Harry Ransom Center, 300 W. 21st St.