The Naming of Things
Selections from the NYPL Picture Collection

Location: Pratt Photography Gallery
ARC Building Lower Level, Brooklyn Campus
Show Dates: Thursday, October 5–Friday, December 15, 2017
Reception: Thursday, October 5, 6–8 PM
Gallery Hours: Monday–Friday 11 AM-5 PM

Consider how pictures function in our culture, how we define them, and how others react to the words we ascribe to them. A two-part interactive exhibition organized by Pratt Institute students that showcases the nature of the cataloging process at the New York Public Library’s Picture Collection, with an interactive gallery in which audience members can try their hand at cataloguing objects on display.

Curated by Pratt Institute students and alumni Ethan Kell, Jingqi Liu, Abbi Newfeld, Sam O’Neill, and Caroline Sartono in collaboration with Adjunct Associate Professor Peter Kayafas.

For more information please contact the Photography Department:


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All the Distance

Location: Pratt Photography Gallery
Show Dates: Monday, August 21–Friday, September 22, 2017
Reception: Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 6-8 PM
Gallery Hours: Monday–Friday 11 AM-5 PM

The Pratt Photography Gallery opens the semester with All the Distance, an exhibition of works from the Pratt Photography Department faculty. The widely varied work included in the exhibition represents the diversity of our faculty in terms of subject and medium, including analog and digital color prints, silver gelatin and platinum/palladium prints, video, and photographic sculpture. Spanning several decades, the works characterize the possibilities within continually evolving lens-based media. What emerges from the rich history of photography via its various techniques and applications can appear initially heterogeneous and far-flung, but there is also a coziness there, a familiarity, a common set of ancestors. Here, we move beyond the present, into both digital and analogue spaces, collapsing history. Here, we sit face to face with the medium and its many branches and directions. Here, past and present are an accordion that converges across that distance. All of this may happen in the open space that is “photography.”

Caminos de La Habana

Caminos de La Habana is an exhibition of works from Pratt Institute Film/Video and Photography students in collaboration with students from La Universidad de Las Artes in Havana, Cuba.


a Handful of Dust

Thursday, September 15–Friday, December 2, 2016
Opening: Wednesday, September 14, 2016, 8 PM

Location: Pratt Photography Gallery, Lower Level ARC Building, Brooklyn Campus
Gallery Hours: Monday–Friday, 12:30 PM–5 PM, open for class visits

a Handful of Dust is David Campany's speculative history of the last century, and a visual journey through some of its most unlikely imagery.

Let’s suppose the modern era begins in October of 1922. A little French avant-garde journal publishes a photograph of a sheet of glass covered in dust. The photographer is Man Ray, the glass is by Marcel Duchamp. At first they call it a "view from an aeroplane." Then they title it Dust BreedingIt’s abstract, it’s realist. It’s an artwork, it’s a document. It’s obscure but strangely compelling. Cameras must be kept away from dust but they find it highly photogenic. At the very same time, TS Eliot publishes the great modern poem "The Waste Land": "I will show you fear in a handful of dust." The exhibition’s connections range far and wide, from aerial reconnaissance and the American dustbowl to the Middle East via conceptual art, landscape photography, still life imagery, scientific imaging, and police files. 

a Handful of Dust includes works by Man Ray, John Divola, Walker Evans, Edward Ruscha, Frederick Sommer, Wols, Sophie Ristelhueber, Robert Burley, Jeff Mermelstein, Bruce Nauman, Aaron Siskind, and Jeff Wall.

The exhibition originated at Le Bal, Paris, continues at the Pratt Photography Gallery and then travels to Whitechapel Gallery, London; and the Moderna Museet, Stockholm. MACK Books published Handful of Dust by David Campany in 2015.

Co-sponsored by the Photo League, Pratt Institute Libraries, and the School of Art

Image: Man Ray / Marcel Duchamp, Levage de poussire, (Dust Breeding) 1920, printed 1964.
© Succession Marcel Duchamp / ADAGP, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2016
© Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY / ADAGP, Paris 2016


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The pure products of America go crazy

October 7–November 20, 2015

This extraordinary exhibition was curated by Joshua Chuang and features contemporary artists Lucas Blalock, Owen Kydd, and John Lehr along side Harry Callahan, Walker Evans, Jan Groover, Arnold Newman, Paul Outerbridge, Jr., Aaron Siskind, Sandy Skoglund, and Frederick Sommer. This exhibition, whose title derives from a 1923 poem by William Carlos Williams, assumes the form of a running dialogue between photographic images—past and present—that take as their subject the accumulated byproducts of an American way of life.  

Lucas Blalock was born in Asheville, North Carolina in 1978. Like many studio-based photographers today, he records his pictures on film with a view camera and processes them in Photoshop. Instead of being a routine stage of predetermined refinement however, digital post-production for Blalock is an arena for overt acts of whimsy and destabilization. Blalock is featured in the exhibition "Ocean of Images: New Photography 2015" at the Museum of Modern Art. He is represented by Ramiken Crucible.

Owen Kydd was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 1975. Kydd has referred to his pictures as “durational photographs.” Made with the digital camera’s video function and displayed on high-definition LED monitors typically used for commercial signage, Kydd’s perpetually-looping photographic videos untether photography’s association with discrete time while taking advantage of the medium’s ability to describe the world with compelling precision. Kydd, who has been nominated for the 2015 Aimia | AGO Photography Prize, is currently the subject of a solo exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art. He is represented by the Nicelle Beauchene Gallery.

John Lehr was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1975. Lehr examines urban surfaces and facades with tripod-mounted cameras. The wealth of detail available to him in the digital files he creates is then dissected, subtly amplified, or toned down in the computer to create seamless pictures that oscillate between reality and hallucination. He often prints his work at exactly the same size as the original subject, resulting in photographic objects that present a hyper-realized proposition of reality even as they refer back to an actual space and time. Lehr is represented by the Kate Werble Gallery. He is an Assistant Professor of Photography at Pratt Institute. 

Joshua Chuang is the Chief Curator at the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona. Previously he served as the Richard Benson Associate Curator of Photography and Digital Media at the Yale University Art Gallery, where he organized the exhibitions "Robert Adams: The Place We Live," "First Doubt: Optical Confusion in Modern Photography," and "Art for Yale: Collecting for a New Century." He has also co-edited and produced more than a dozen artist monographs, including those by Robert Adams, Lee Friedlander, Judith Joy Ross, and Mark Ruwedel. 

Lynn Saville Dark City

August 21–October 2

Pepsi-Cola Sign, 2008

Dark City features photographs from Lynn Saville’s three monographs Acquainted with the Night (Rizzoli, 1997), Night/Shift (Monacelli, 2009), and Dark City (Damiani, 2015), each of which depicts American cities at night and what the artist describes as, “the boundary times between night and day.” The retrospective exhibition depicts three decades of the artist's nocturnes with an emphasis on photographs made in Greater New York.

Lynn Saville’s photographs have been widely exhibited in the U.S. and abroad. Saville has  won a number of awards, including fellowships from The New York Foundation for the Arts and The New York State Council for the Arts; a Premio in the Scanno, Italy, Festival of Photography; and First Place in the Architecture category, Women in Photography International.

Lynn Saville was educated at Duke University and Pratt Institute, where she received her M.F.A. in Photography in 1976.


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