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Fixing A Shadow

Photography was born in January, 1839, with two separate events. Louis Daguerre, a successful French portrait painter entrepreneur, announced that he had perfected a process of fixing a photographic likeness on a silver plate. And only three weeks later William Talbot, an Englishman whose interest in photography grew out of his inability to draw, announced his invention of a negative positive process of photography, making it possible to duplicate prints from a single negative.

No one could have guessed what the medium would be become and how it would permeate our lives 150 years later as result of developing technology and the vision and passion of the countless photographers who turned a crude scientific method into pictures and, sometimes, works of art.

On the Art of Fixing a Shadow: 150 Years of Photography, an exhibition organized by the Art Institute of Chicago and the National Gallery of Art, examines the evolution of photography through the works of more than 200 photographers, including Talbot, Henri Cartier Bresson, Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus and Richard Avedon. Some 400 photographs have been gathered from public and private collections worldwide.

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