An eye for capturing history (through a lens)

In this age of smart phones and Instagram, photography and sharing photos is all within the palm of our hands. Most of us are equipped with cameras on our phones that eclipse the bulky cameras of yesterday on many levels.

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Of course, where there is ease-of-use there is also abusive behaviors such a posting pictures of every meal or every stop (please, we really don’t want to know). That soapbox aside, one of the joys of today’s photography technology is the ability to capture our world around us, daily, as it happens.

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As a father of a 3-year-old, I try to balance capturing “the moment” for later with enjoying “the moment” right now. It’s not an easy task, as many of you know. No one wants to be THAT person who won’t ever put the phone down and enjoy the present. But at the same time, we want to remember the time later or share it with other loved ones who are unfortunately not with us, such as family who live across the country in my case.

In essence, photography, whether candid shots on your smart phone or formal portrait-style sit-downs, are all about capturing history! They are about recording a moment, a feel, a view, or a special time together. They are about collecting moments in time and reliving the nostalgic memories later. Mostly the photographs we take are for personal use but it is evident in today’s information-and-picture-sharing-social-media-frenzy that many people want as many people to see (and LIKE) their pictures as possible.

Of course, many REAL photographers shun the everyday-person-on-the-street calling themselves a photographer just because they own a smart phone. There is a BIG difference between the worlds of F-stops and specialty lenses with that of iPhones or androids and Instagram. The good news for professional photographers, much like professional journalists, is that the more amateur stuff that is published, the more people realize high quality work when they see it.

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Prints often add an additional element of depth that is not quite there in screen images, even with HD. Much like a physical letter or note from someone has more meaning and significance than a tweet or email from them, it’s refreshing to stand before hundreds of quality photographic prints and see the depth and colors that no screen can yet compare to.

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163 entries! CHS just closed the books on entries for our very first photography contest and we got 163 entries. There is so many amazing photographs submitted, it took our judges a few days to review them and pick the winners. The contest was our attempt to bring a contemporary spin on the newest exhibit, Through a Different Lens: Three Connecticut Women Photographers, opening up on October 11. Winners of the contest will be announced opening day and will be displayed in a gallery for the duration of the exhibit, through March 29, 2014. Another fun feature of the contest, by the way, is that there will be a Viewer’s Choice Award given early March to whoever gains the most votes from visitors to the exhibit.

Through a Different Lens: Three Connecticut Women Photographers opens up in a few weeks and brings visitors back to a time when there was no digital. There was bulky equipment and difficult processing involved. The fact that the exhibit focuses on the works of three women adds to the amazing stories of the images themselves, as it was deemed a “man’s profession” for quite some time. Come stand before time and explore the photographic worlds of three very different Connecticut women from the late 19th century (Marie Hartig Kendall and Harriet V. S. Thorne) to mid-20th century (Rosalie Thorne McKenna) will take you on an iconic journey. Get a feel for what to expect here.

Cheers!

Ed Main is the Communications Manager at the Connecticut Historical Society.

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One thought on “An eye for capturing history (through a lens)

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