Cornell University

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World Picture: Travel Imagery Before and After Photography

Friday, September 13, 2019 at 9:00am to 5:00pm

Kroch Library, Level 2B
Olin Library, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA

Drawing from Cornell’s Rare and Manuscript Collections and the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, this exhibition examines how published travel imagery created and transmitted geographical knowledge during the nineteenth century, a period of rapid and extraordinary change in how people travelled, represented, and understood the world. After photography’s 1839 debut, the new medium was seen as uniquely suited to the task of presenting accurate geographical description. At the same time, traditional illustration methods such as wood engravings, etchings, and lithographs offered varied and often romanticized interpretations of their subjects in an exploding number of publications dedicated to travel and exploration. What does this reveal about the roles of authenticity and aesthetics in the success of the Western project to teach audiences about faraway places?

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Event Type

Exhibit, Exhibition


Cornell University Library, Johnson Museum of Art, Kroch Library



Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Rare and Manuscript Collections

Contact Phone


Dept. Web Site

Disability Access Information (607) 255-4144

Open To

Free and open to all

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