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Photographs

Tom Wells, Curator

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Welcome to the Photograph Archives in Special Collections

History of Photography Exhibit“FROM DAGUERREOTYPE TO DIGITAL: CELEBRATING 170 YEARS OF PHOTOGRAPHY” is a new exhibit in the L. Tom Perry Special Collection’s exhibit room, level 1 in the Harold B. Lee Library.  This exhibit is geared for everyone, from children to adults.  Come and enjoy a rare opportunity to see actual vintage photograph from the 1840’s to the present.
One hundred and seventy years ago, decades of research and experimentation came together and photography was born. From these early developments, began the never-ending quest to discover better methods of creating photographic images. This exhibit uses photographs and artifacts from the L. Tom Perry Special Collections, to show some of the many discoveries as photography evolved from the early days of the daguerreotype to the digital age in which we now live.  This exhibit runs from August 2009 to May 2010.

The Photograph Archives in Special Collections contains historical images, negatives, and prints from the dawn of photography in the 1840’s to the present. Well over 1,000,000 images including original prints, glass-plate negatives, and film negatives reflect the full range of subjects in which manuscripts are collected, with special emphasis given to the history of photography in Utah and the American West.

The Photograph Archives especially collects the work of Utah photographers, images of Mormonism and the settlement of Utah, and the photographic history of Brigham Young University. The names of some of the photographers represented in this Utah segment of the collection include Charles Roscoe Savage, George Beard, George Edward Anderson, Charles Ellis Johnson, Joseph Bagley, Elfie Huntington Bagley and more recently, J. M. Heslop.

In addition to documenting the history of Utah and western photography, the Photograph Archives devotes attention to the history of American photography. As the archives collects the photographs of individual photographers, it attempts to acquire complete archives of original negatives and prints. The collections comprise virtually every type of photographic record, material, process, format, and size. To preserve the fragile nature of the photographs for future generations, a 1,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art cold-storage facility has been constructed. Within this controlled environment, the expected life of BYU’s photograph collections will last well into the new millennium.

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