Among Others: Photography and the Group

May 31 through August 18, 2019

Composed chiefly of works in the Morgan’s collection, this exhibition explores how photographers have represented the bonds uniting people, whether in group portraits or in serial imagery. In arranged sittings, form is content: when commissioned to photograph the royals of Germany and England at a wedding in 1894, James Russell and Son’s Studio instinctively centered its composition around the family’s matriarch, Queen Victoria. Camera artists sometimes insert themselves into the action, as Susan Meiselas did when mingling with carnival strippers, first to portray them behind the scenes and then to photograph those in the audience from a performer’s perspective. Action can also be a pose: in 1970, when asked to create a positive poster image for the Gay Liberation Front, Peter Hujar asked the group’s members to run toward him on the street, enacting their slogan, “Come Out!!” Ingenuity may be called for when one’s subjects are all too well-known: a press photographer, Jean-Pierre Ducatez, appealed to the primal desires of Beatles fans by zeroing in on the lips of each band member, creating a captivating game of who’s-who. Bringing together works from the 1860s to the present, Among Others poses questions about family, diversity, democracy, representation, and visual delight.

Among Others: Photography and the Group is made possible by The Thompson Family Foundation.

Bob Adelman (American, 1930-2016), Peoples’ Wall, World's Fair, New York, 1965. Gelatin silver print. Purchased as the gift of Burton and Nancy Staniar. 2015.131, The Morgan Library & Museum. © Bob Adelman Estate

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Selected images