For photographers, the studio is a stage, a set, a playground, a laboratory and more. In his first exhibition as chief curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, Quentin Bajac encourages viewers to consider the varied ways photographers and artists who use photography have produced work in the studio from the nineteenth century through today. Organized thematically rather than chronologically, “A World of Its Own: Photographic Practices in the Studio,” which runs through October 5, includes the work of Man Ray, Harry Callahan, Irving Penn, Seydou Keïta, Bruce Nauman, Adrian Piper, Lucas Samaras, Julia Margaret Cameron, Cindy Sherman, Walead Beshty, Uta Barth and many others. It also features several film and video pieces.
Many younger photographers, who are working at a time when millions of images are created everyday, are particularly engaged and interested in studio photography, Bajac said, which is one of the reasons he decided to open his tenure at MoMA with this show. “There’s a strong current of experimental photography that is interested in the materiality of the image, that is going back sometimes to analogue processes, to experiments in darkrooms,” Bajac told PDN in an interview in February. Another of Bajac’s goals in organizing the show was to use the museum’s collection to “write another history of photography that was not only about that documentary, descriptive photography that was for a long time associated with MoMA … There’s a very strong tradition of studio photography in the United States, in the twentieth century, and I think that tradition is today being reconsidered by a younger generation.”
Visit “A World of Its Own: Photographic Practices in the Studio,” through October 5, 2014 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.