Snapshots! Selections from the Peter J. Cohen Gift
With the advent of Kodak's portable camera in the 1880s, people began to use photography to tell the stories of their own lives. Since then, we have relied on the medium to capture–and create–intimate moments of joy, play, celebration, boredom, grief, and everything in between.
This exhibition celebrates the captivating power of amateur photography as seen through a recent gift by Peter J. Cohen. An early champion of snapshots taken by ordinary people, Cohen has collected over sixty thousand examples dating back to the birth of Kodak and made generous donations to museums throughout the United States.
The photographs in this exhibition, selected over several visits to Cohen’s archive, were purchased in flea markets and other secondary marketplaces. Even without their original contextualizing information, they continue to offer a rare window into individual lives and creative sensibilities. At once factually rich and enigmatic, these photographs test the limits of the camera’s–and our own–ability to document and remember.
Organized by Hannah Shaw, Graduate Curatorial Assistant and PhD candidate in the Department of Art History at Rutgers University, with the assistance Halle McNabb, Intern and BFA student at Mason Gross School of the Arts