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MFA, thestudio@620 re-open with photography exhibits

Bill DeYoung



William Henry Fox Talbot, English, 1800–1877, View of the Boulevards of France (detail), 1843, Salted paper print from a paper negative, Gift of Dr. Robert and Chitranee Drapkin

For her official entré, the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg’s new Curator of Photography Allison Moore has curated Copper, Silver, Salt Ink: The Chemistry of Photography’s Enduring Desires, with images drawn from the MFA’s expansive collection (13,000 and counting), along with choice loans from the collection of Robert and Chitrannee Drapkin.

On display in the Hough Gallery are more than 60 unique photos, dating from the 1830s to recent times.

Dorothea Lange (American, 1895-1965), Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936, Photogravure, Gift of Carol Upham in memory of William W. Upham 

The title refers to the chemical development of photography as a medium in the mid 19th century, including the richly detailed but hard to reproduce daguerreotype, and the easily reproduced calotype, which wasn’t as detailed and tended to fade quickly (there are two vintage calotype printers in the exhibit).

These led to the photogravure, which resulted in beautifully toned, successfully reproducible prints. The photogravure, in turn, led to the Pictorialism movement, photography’s first steps towards becoming an art form, “in which artists creatively manipulated photographs to heighten mood and emotion,” according to the museum’s official description of Copper, Silver, Salt, Ink.

Derrick Adams (American, b. 1970), Floater 66, 2018, Acrylic paint and collage on paper, Private collection

It has the distinction of being one of the museum’s two brand-new exhibits – they both run through Nov. 29 – alongside Buoyant, an exhibition of paintings by Derrick Adams.

After six months off-limits because of Covid-19, the Museum of Fine Arts re-opened, for members, this past weekend. The public will be allowed in, with masks and social distancing restrictions in place, beginning this Saturday, Sept. 19.

Executive director Kristen Shepherd is today’s guests on The Catalyst Sessions, our video interview program, and she will discuss the new shows – and the museum’s new beginning.

Advanced, timed tickets are required; buy them here.

Herb Snitzer (photo by Tom Kramer)

In 2018, the MFA featured the photography of St. Petersburg camera artist Herb Snitzer, whose black and white images of iconic jazz artists are known the world over; Can I Get a Witness also focused on his images of the 1960s civil rights era, and his incredibly expressive shots of St. Pete pride celebrations.

Snitzer’s work is featured in a new exhibition at thestudio@620. Celebrating Herb Snitzer: A Photographic Legacy will last for three months, with each putting the spotlight on a different aspect of his picture-making.

September: Visions of Social Justice; Images of Life and Strife

October: Homage to an Influencer; A Curated Group Exhibition (featuring images inspired by Snitzer’s legacy)

November: All That Visual Jazz

Here’s Snitzer, from a January 2020 interview in Florida Trend: “I’ve always seen jazz as a metaphor for freedom. Nina Simone, John Coltrane, that was the message they were sending out. It was a message of freedom, and they used music as the conveyor of their anger. Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln did a thing on freedom. It was in the air. Boy, you couldn’t escape it — and you didn’t want to escape it.”

Studio director Bob Devin Jones recently video-recorded a one-on-one interview with the photographer, which will be screened in a loop as part of the exhibition.

Individuals and/or small groups can make appointments ato view the exhibits at 620 1st Avenue S; reserve your spot here or call 727-895-6620.

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