Quentin Bajac, Chief Curator of Photography at MOMA

Our course material refers us to an interview between Conor Risch and Quentin Bajac, Chief Curator of Photography at MOMA. I am just going to make brief bullet points on the points that Bajac mentioned which interested me the most.

“Depending on the time period, context, and the individual motivations (commercial, artistic, scientific) and sensibilities of the photographer, the studio may be a stage, a laboratory, or a playground.”

Quentin Bajac

  • Currently there is a huge interest in experimental photography: materiality of the image; a resurgence of darkroom techniques; fashion and advertising
  • Exhibition explains this current interest by looking at the history of photography done in the studio: neo-pictorialist.
  • History of photography tends to repeat itself, just using new technology and techniques. Pretty much everything was invented in the first 30 years.
  • In the 60’s and 70’s curators did not have as much access to images. Now in the age of the internet, there is a plethora of images but curators need to find ways to connect to the online photographic world, e.g. digital museums.
  • In 80’s and 90’s photographers were more orientated to exhibiting their work. Today’s generation is more geared to online expression.
  • Should be more open to popular culture. The delineation between artistic and vernacular work is often fuzzy.
  • Photographers need to give themselves time to develop, learn to edit their work, stand back and evaluate.
  • Photographers start with the camera and edit; artists conceives an idea and tries to convey this through the medium of photography.
  • Need to remember that the studio is a “world”. It can be used as a set or stage.
Reference List

Risch, Conor (2014) MoMA’s New Chief Photo Curator Turns to Studio Photography for First Show [online] PDN. Available at http://www.pdnonline.com/features/MoMAs-New-Chief-Pho-10291.shtml [Accessed 14 July, 2016]


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