Drawn from the collection of Arlette and Gus Kayafas, a 1998 exhibition titled “There is Nothing as Mysterious as a Fact Clearly Described” at the Fuller Museum of Art, Brockton, Massachusetts, provided a fascinating chronology of photography and its emergence as an art form. Examples of photographic techniques such as daguerrrotypes, callotype negatives, salt prints, and cyanotypes were included.
The exhibition featured the work of well-known nineteenth and twentieth century photographers, with a strong focus on the work of four important teachers of photography: August Sanders, Eugene Atget, Lewis Hine, and Walker Evans. Works by female photographers Julia Margaret Cameron, Margaret Bourke-White, Diane Arbus, and Lee Friedlander were also an important presence in the exhibition.
Additional artists included Harold (Doc) Edgerton, Garry Winogrand, Olivia Parker, Helen Levitt, Aaron Siskend, and Harry Callahan. The exhibition was curated by Gus Kayafas who played an integral role in the field of photography as an assistant to both Doc Edgerton and Minor White. All of the photogaphs in the exhibit provided a direct and unmanipulated view of the world.*
“The photograph on the cover of the exhibition’s brochure was Lewis Hine’s 1905 ‘Albanian Woman with Head Cloth, Ellis Island.’ Wearing traditional clothes for her entry into the New World, she faces the camera directly. What might have been a mug shot isn’t, because Hines has captured an expression of wistful stoicism. She holds something back. You yearn to know what – and also what happened to her.” **
* Page 6, Exhibition Brochure, Fuller Museum of Art, Spring, 1998
** Art Review, Christine Tenin, The Boston Globe, June 16, 1998