Wednesday, May 23, 2012
For one of my summer classes, a library science class titled “Photography Collections,” we visited the New York Historical Society. The NYHS houses a vast collection of photographic images, in a wide range of formats, from daguerreotypes to tintypes, platinum prints to gem photo albums. We even got to see a piece of (very) obscure early 20th-century technology known as a parallex stereograph, which looks like a small black box that, when held at the proper angle, reveals a 3-D color photograph (remember, made in the early 20th century!). Much of this collection focuses on the period between the American Revolution and the American Civil War, since that was the time the NYHS was founded and its collection grew rapidly—hence, an intense focus on photographic formats from the 19th and early 20th century. For a photo buff, this is a real treasure trove. But it’s tough to capture the real magic of these artifacts in photographs…if you’re into it, I urge you to check it all out in person!