All About the Light
A selection of fine art photographs the exemplify extraordinary use of light.
September 3 - November 28, 2015
Hours: Wed - Sat 11–5:30 pm; Tues by appointment
First Thursdays of the month open until 7:30pm
Contact: 415-781-1122 • firstname.lastname@example.org
49 Geary Street • Suite 410 • San Francisco, CA 94108
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All About the Light
A selection of fine art photographs the exhibit extraordinary use of light.
September 3 - November 28, 2015
Robert Tat Gallery presents a group exhibition of photographs that exemplify extraordinary use of light. All the works are drawn from the Gallery’s collection. Photographers include: Ruth Bernhard, Fan Ho, Barbara Traub, Michael Kenna, Imogen Cunningham, George Platt Lynes, George Hoxie, Neil Folberg, Charles Harbutt, Fred Archer, photographer unknown, and others.
The word photography comes from the Greek roots photos, meaning “light” and graphé meaning “drawing.” Thus, photography literally means drawing with light. It has been said that a good photographer is one who finds the light. To be sure, there is no photograph that is not about light--it is the material, the paint and brush if you will, with which a photograph is made.
The present exhibition showcases examples that show a particular attention to the light, and by doing so also reveal the dark. Whether it is the rim lighting around a woman’s face revealing only a hint of who she is, or the light that rakes across a barren desert landscape revealing the intensity and harshness of the environment, the light is as much a character here as the subject. And yet, even though it is a major quality of these photographs, light is inherently un-photographable. We cannot “see” light as an object; we can only see its effect upon other objects.
Of particular note is a whole wall of photograms. The photogram is a work that cannot be made by any other means than the photographic process. These camera-less photographs are created by placing objects directly on the photographic paper and exposing them to light. So, the photogram is literally “all about the light.” The method was popular among Surrealists (including Man Ray and others), as the concept of placing objects on paper seemed an extension of Andre Breton’s use of found objects as material for art. By definition, a photogram is a one of a kind, unique photograph, and since there is no negative used in making the print the image cannot be replicated.
The ROBERT TAT GALLERY specializes in 20th century European and American photographs. The eclectic collection of vintage and later prints emphasizes Photographic Modernism, but also includes earlier and later photographs. The gallery shows works by 20th century master photographers, lesser-known mid-century photographers, the Pictorialists, select contemporary artists, as well as unique vernacular and anonymous photographs and selected 19th century works. We also maintain a good selection of vintage historical photographs of San Francisco and Califonia.
ROBERT TAT GALLERY is located in San Francisco's premiere gallery building at 49 Geary Street, Suite 410, near Union Square. The Gallery is open Wednesday - Saturday 11:00 AM - 5:30 PM; Tuesday by appointment. For further information, please call 415-781-1122.
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is a Salon photograph?
Numerous camera clubs around the world sponsor regular exhibitions, called
salons, where members of other clubs compete to show work. The salons
during the first half of the 20th century were particularly rich, featuring
the work of many artists who later became famous. We take a special interest
in the the works of lesser known salon photographers, often serious amateurs
or commercial professionals doing their own work on the side. Their photographs
are frequently beautifully composed and crafted, with an aesthetic and
print quality rivaling that of the celebrated artists of the day. Many
collectors appreciate salon work for these reasons -- and because it is
more reasonably priced than works by better known artists. Salon prints
may bear exhibition labels or stamps on the reverse of the photograph's
mount, indicating awards or other participation in various salons.
is a Vernacular photograph?
The term "vernacular" literally means "of the commonplace."
In photography collecting, it refers to photographs which were made without
artistic intent. This includes commercial photographs, personal snapshots
and albums, historical images, scientific photographs, etc. Many collectors
find vernacular images interesting, both for subject matter and for the
occasional image that has an aesthetic appeal, albeit unintentional.
is a Found Image?
Our Found Images are specially selected snapshots screened with the same
criteria as a fine art photograph: artistic appeal, engaging or emotional
subject matter, and print quality. We search through about 1000 pieces
to find one "gem in the rough" that meets our standards. There
is growing interest in collecting snapshots and a new appreciation of
them as art, with several fine arts museums mounting exhibitions during
the past few years. Found Images from Robert Tat's collection were exhibited
at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1998 as part of their "Snapshots:
The Photography of Everyday Life" show.