The George Eastman Museum will open a new rotation in its History of Photography Gallery Oct. 29. The installation, curated by Heather Shannon, assistant curator in the department of photography, will provide the history of photography through photographs made in Mexico by artists, photojournalists and archaeologists, and unidentified tourists and studio photographers from Europe, the U.S. and Mexico.
The installation will begin with a daguerreotype that dates to 1839 — the year the invention of photography was announced — and ends with a triptych from Mexican artist Alejandro Cartagena’s series Carpoolers, 2011–12.
The 1839 daguerreotype, made by Louis Prélier, depicts the Port of Veracruz and is the earliest known daguerreotype in the Eastman Museum collection. Prélier was a French expatriate who worked as an engraver in Mexico City. He was in Paris in 1839, when the daguerreotype was introduced and the announcement of the invention of photography was made.
All of the images Prélier made in Veracruz were thought to have been lost, but the museum has one in its collection, along with seven whole-plate daguerreotypes Prélier made in Mexico City.
The Prélier daguerreotypes — including the Veracruz daguerreotype — were collected by Gabriel Cromer, whose collection was purchased by the Eastman Kodak Company in 1939 from Comer’s widow in Paris, and given to the museum in 1949.
The gallery will remain on view through April 30, 2017.