Masterworks of American Photography: Popular Culture

January 16, 2010July 18, 2010

Immerse yourself in the Carter’s latest photography exhibition, Masterworks of American Photography: Popular Culture. These images offer moments of recognition that bind us as a culture, and remind us of photography’s vibrant ability to reflect our shared lives.

From their introduction, photographs have made the world seem smaller. Entertainers and politicians have, from the start, taken advantage of the vivid immediacy of photographic portraits to elicit a sense of personal connection and gain audiences and support. The medium allowed armchair travelers to “visit” sites like Niagara Falls and Yosemite Valley. Photographs helped build fads by introducing new inventions like the bicycle. They gave the scourges of the Great Depression a human face and helped instill wartime patriotism, and brought Hollywood starlets into our living rooms, making these larger-than-life figures seem like one of us. They gave dramatic immediacy to the uprisings and debates of the 1960s. The photographs filling this display do not summarize great events. Instead, they offer discrete details that at times play the edges of controversy but more often exude goodwill and humor.