Before the Lens: Images of the Imagemakers at the Boston University Art Gallery

Contact: Joan Schwartz, |

(Boston, Mass.) — The images of Before the Lens focus attention on the photographer as subject. The exhibition, more than sixty portraits and self-portraits of and by photographers, spans the history of photography from from its inception in the mid-19th century to the present day. It encompasses such photographic pioneers as Louis Daguerre, Edward Muybridge, and Matthew Brady, mid-20th century photographers including Edward Weston, Gyorgy Kepes, Berenice Abbott, and Lotte Jacobi, as well as contemporary artists such as Gordon Parks, Robert Frank, and Diane Arbus.

“Photographers make notoriously difficult subjects,” writes Charles Schwartz, from whose extensive collection of photography the exhibition is drawn. This creates an interesting dynamic, since many of the photographs were made with two artists, one in front of the camera, and one behind it. Schwartz continues, “The photographers in this show are masters and thus brilliant at getting from their subjects what they are after. In the self-portraits we see the photographer at his or her own mercy, showing us consciously, or not, how they see themselves.”

The exhibition was curated by Inez McDermott and was first exhibited at the New Hampshire Institute of Art in January 1998. It travels to the Queens Museum in New York City in January 1999.

Before the Lens: Images of the Imagemakers

Boston University Art Gallery 855 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston

Friday, October 30 – Sunday, December 13

Tuesday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sat. & Sun. 1 – 5 p.m.

Friday, October 30, 6 – 8 p.m.

Special Event:
Gallery talk Hosted by Karen Haas, Gallery Curator
Tuesday, November 17 at 1 p.m.

Exhibition and all Gallery events are free and open to the public. For information call 617/353-3329.