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New Orleans Museum of Art Explores the Nature of the Photograph

courtesy New Orleans Museum of Art

The first permanent photograph, View from the Window at Le Gras, isn’t much to look at; without some prompting or guidance, it basically looks like a bunch of abstract gray geometric shapes. Then you realize it was taken in 1826, and the full measure and magnitude of the thing becomes clear – it’s a photograph taken the year Thomas Jefferson died. But is it a photograph, really, and if it’s not – and the images that we shoot with digital cameras, images that might never exist as objects to be held, are – then how do you define a photograph? Film exposed to light for a certain period of time? Not so much anymore. Therein lies the genesis of NOMA’s new exhibit, cleverly titled What Is a Photograph?, that opens tomorrow at 5. (FULL ARTICLE: Doug MacCash, New Orleans Times-Picayune)