(46) The Initial Anatomy of Photo Museums

(46) The Initial Anatomy of Photo Museums

Mr. Bento did not have the idea of bringing up news of Robert Frank’s death would create another diversion, dragging the HOSOP team further away from studying what photo museums world-wide would gather in their collections. In today’s gathering he must stress on focusing, herding them back to the aim of this meeting. In fact, everyone had done some homework, and after a lengthy discussion, they came to the following consensus. Wandy, with her iPad on her lap, quickly typed down the points.

• Most photo museums have historical and contemporary photography in their collection.
• Some perform acquisition of other important private photo collections in the world.
• Photo collection focusing on socially and politically charged images.
• Some collect works only by young photographers, or under certain ages, i.e. 35 or below.
• Some also organize exhibitions and publications, setting up on-going discussion on the role that photograph plays in our digital age.
• Some specialize in collecting certain genre of photography, say architecture, landscape, portraiture, abstract or experimental work…
• Some museums also collect historic cameras and photographic equipments in their holdings. Rotating installations that trace the history of photography from the collection.
• A number of them focus on the digital era, acquiring video, multi-media work along side with photographs.

Then there are also contemporary museums collecting 'Time-based media art', visual work that requires technology to be experienced. In the present almost ninety-nine percent of photography is produced digitally, would it be necessary to differentiate digital photography versus analog photography? Now they have a clearer view of roughly what photo museums of the world collect, would it help them to mold HOSOP? In fact, the more they learned, the more they felt their inadequacy to create a truly unique photo museum. They need to bring in more revolutionary ideas.

“I forgot to mention,” George said, “the opening of Fotografiska in New York. Has anybody heard of Fotografiska yet?” seeing no head nodding he continued, “it was founded in 2010 by brothers Jan and Per Broman in Stockholm and boasted to be the largest photo museum of the world. It differs from other photo museums as they only use the gorgeous space to organize exhibitions, practically several stellar shows at the same time. The exhibitions are developed directly with the artists, estates, collections and galleries. As their motto says, ‘We want to encourage and initiate change. We do so through our five core values: Innovation, Inclusion, Inspiration, Sustainability and Relevance.’ It wanted to be an inclusive hub for a connected creative, photo-loving community. In fact, Fotografiska wants you to experience a dynamic mix of world-class photography, cultural events and retail alongside epicurean dining created by award-winning restaurants. What’s more, this new addition in New York is open 363 days, from 9 am to 11 pm. The reason I mention this is to point out that museums are no longer just archival storage places, they are adapting and changing, more reinvigorated, more geared to the 21st century - the lifestyle of consuming.”

Back to blog