The View From Here: Accessing Art through Photography
The digital age has made photography a uniquely accessible and familiar art form to people of all ages. In the spring of 2021, the Yale Center for British Art and the Lens Media Lab (LML) at Yale’s Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage offered a free four-month online program for young adults in Greater New Haven who were interested in learning about photography. The goal of this program was to deepen young people’s engagement with visual art, exposing them both to the history and possibilities of the medium while also providing them with opportunities to learn about museums and the many available career pathways.
The program culminated with an exhibition of the twelve student-photographers' work presented on the Center’s website and on the street as a projection from the windows of the museum. As such, it is the first exhibition at the Center to feature art on the exterior walls of the museum. Visible every evening from sunset to midnight on High Street, the closed museum becomes a space that opens a new view onto the city.
Conceived as a collaboration between the Center and LML, the course drew primarily from our respective collections and activities. The photographic collections of the Center range from the earliest masterpieces of analogue photography through recent and contemporary digital photography, including individual works of art as well as photographic albums, cartes de visite, extra illustrated books, and other ephemera. The LML houses the world’s largest reference collection of photographic paper—essentially serving as a “genome” of black-and-white photography—and provides science and data analysis for understanding the medium’s material history. Our respective collections and staff provided the core pillars of the program; alongside, we drew upon the expertise of the Photography department at the Yale School of Art, curators at the Yale Art Gallery, and other staff and collections at the university.