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Oklahoma State University

"Camera Classics" Explores Cameras as Objects of Design, Cultural Significance

Thursday, February 15, 2018

 Cameras are usually viewed as photography’s workhorses, existing only to fulfill their operators’ vision. However, an upcoming exhibition at the OSU Museum of Art looks at cameras from a different perspective – as objects of design, intended to please the eye as well as create images.

Opening on Feb. 20, Camera Classics will present a selection of cameras ranging from the 1890s to the present day, exploring notable examples in relation to current design trends, user demands, cultural significance, and technical advances. The exhibition includes Eastman’s early view and pocket brownie cameras, Walter Dorwin Teague’s Art Deco gift camera, the Polaroid Land Camera, and the camera-embedded iPhone.

The exhibition gives us an opportunity to think about the power that cameras have given us. Anyone with access to a smartphone can now exercise their creativity, documenting and preserving information as a journalist or historian. Used in partnership with the Internet, the potential for recording and sharing information is astounding.

Camera Classics is drawn from the museum’s permanent collection and the Kravis Design Center in Tulsa. It is complemented by Impressionist to Modernist: Milestones in Early Photography, featuring more than 70 rare, vintage prints capturing a pivotal period in the development of photography. Impressionist to Modernist is on view at the museum until April 7, 2018.

Camera Classics is curated by Arlette Klaric, Associate Chief Curator and Curator of Collections, OSU Museum of Art. It is on view from Feb. 20 to July 7, 2018. A spring reception is scheduled for Friday, March 2, from 5 to 7 pm to celebrate the exhibitions on view.

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