TOMORROW – Sat May 31 – Getty hosts a one-day symposium on photography

Los Angeles International Airport, 1964. Garry Winogrand (American, 1928 - 1984). American. Gelatin silver print. 35.6 x 27.9 cm (14 x 11 in.) © 1984 The Estate of Garry Winogrand. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.
Los Angeles International Airport, 1964. Garry Winogrand (American, 1928 – 1984). American. Gelatin silver print. 35.6 x 27.9 cm (14 x 11 in.) © 1984 The Estate of Garry Winogrand. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.

This year marks the 175th anniversary of the announcement of the invention of photography. To commemorate the occasion, the J. Paul Getty Museum’s Department of Photographs will be hosting a one-day symposium titled The View from Here: L.A. and Photography on Saturday, May 31 at the Getty Center.

The symposium is free, but reservations are required and can be made by visiting the event website.

Symposium participants include photographers Jo Ann Callis, John Divola, Catherine Opie, Stephen Shore, and James Welling, filmmaker and photography collector Jan de Bont, Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight, curators Anne Wilkes Tucker and Jennifer Watts, as well as other distinguished speakers.

A keynote lecture will be given by George Baker, associate professor of art history at the University of California, Los Angeles. The event is sponsored by the Getty Museum Photographs Council.
The symposium will consider the role Los Angeles has played in the history of photography, focusing on the last several decades. Panels have been organized to address the tradition of photographic education across Southern California—stretching back to Robert Heinecken’s founding of the photography program at UCLA—as well as the ways in which Los Angeles has inspired and been represented in the work of numerous photographers. Influential Los Angeles area museums, collections, and exhibitions that relate to photography will also be a topic of discussion.


“Early on, major photographers like Edward Weston and Man Ray lived and worked in Los Angeles, but in the last 25 years the art of photography has exploded in Los Angeles. With great teachers, great students, supporting galleries and museums, this city has become an exciting place in the world of photography,” says Jan de Bont, a member of the Photographs Council. “That is why the Getty Photographs Council wanted to make Los Angeles, where ‘visual arts’ have always played a major part, the focus of this celebration.”

The Getty Museum celebrated the 150th anniversary of photography with a symposium in 1989, publishing the papers the following year in Photography, Discovery and Invention: Papers Delivered at a Symposium Celebrating the Invention of Photography.


“This year’s symposium allows us to continue the tradition of marking the anniversary. We have assembled an excellent group of speakers, each of whom brings a distinctive viewpoint regarding Los Angeles’ photographic legacy and the future of photography,” says Virginia Heckert, curator of photographs at the Getty Museum, who, together with assistant curator Amanda Maddox and a subcommittee of Getty Museum Photographs Council members, organized the symposium.

Photography exhibitions on view at the Getty Center at the time of the symposium are A Royal Passion: Queen Victoria and Photography, Hiroshi Sugimoto: Past Tense, and In Focus: Ansel Adams. While all three exhibitions celebrate the rich history of the medium, A Royal Passion was conceived to acknowledge the anniversary of the invention of photography and the rise of the medium’s importance in the areas of documentation and art during Victoria’s six-decade reign.


About the Getty Museum Photographs Council:

Established in 2005, the Getty Museum Photographs Council consists of a group of passionate collectors and donors who support the Getty Museum’s Department of Photographs. Funds from the Council assist the Museum with the acquisition of modern and contemporary photography. To date, the group has helped acquire for the Museum more than 250 works by a number of renowned photographers, including: Marco Breuer, John Chiara, Gregory Crewdson, Eileen Cowin, Simryn Gill, David Goldblatt, Anthony Hernandez, Candida Höfer, Pieter Hugo, John Humble, Mary Ellen Mark, Bill Owens, Masato Seto, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Henry Wessel.

Program Schedule:

10:00–10:15 a.m.
Introductory remarks
Timothy Potts, Director, J. Paul Getty Museum

10:15–10:55 a.m.
Looking Back at Photography
George Baker, University of California, Los Angeles

11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. – Panel I
An Education: Teaching and Studying Photography in L.A.

Jo Ann Callis, California Institute of the Arts
Robbert Flick, University of Southern California
Catherine Opie, University of California, Los Angeles
James Welling, University of California, Los Angeles

Anne Wilkes Tucker, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

12:30-2:00 p.m.
Lunch break and exhibition visit (self-guided)

2:00–3:30 p.m. – Panel II
Los Angeles Shoots Itself: Looking at Southern California

Matthew Brandt
John Divola
Harry Gamboa, Jr.
Alex Prager
Stephen Shore

Colin Westerbeck, writer and independent curator

3:45–5:15 p.m. – Panel III
From the Rearview Mirror: Critical Perspectives on L.A.

Jan de Bont, filmmaker and collector
Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times
Rebecca Morse, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Jennifer Watts, Huntington Library, Art Collection, and Botanical Gardens

Virginia Heckert, J. Paul Getty Museum

5:15–5:30 p.m.
Closing remarks
Judith Keller, J. Paul Getty Museum


The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations:  the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

The J. Paul Getty Museum collects in seven distinct areas, including Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts, and photographs gathered internationally. The Museum’s mission is to make the collection meaningful and attractive to a broad audience by presenting and interpreting the works of art through educational programs, special exhibitions, publications, conservation, and research.

Visiting the Getty Center
The Getty Center is open Tuesday through Friday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. It is closed Monday and major holidays. Admission to the Getty Center is always free. Parking is $15 per car, but reduced to $10 after 5 p.m. on Saturdays and for evening events throughout the week. No reservation is required for parking or general admission. Reservations are required for event seating and groups of 15 or more. Please call (310) 440-7300 (English or Spanish) for reservations and information. The TTY line for callers who are deaf or hearing impaired is (310) 440-7305. The Getty Center is at 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, California.

Additional information is available here.
Sign up for e-Getty here to receive free monthly highlights of events at the Getty Center and the Getty Villa via e-mail, or visit their home site for a complete calendar of public programs.




Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.


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