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Other Pictures: Anonymous Photographs from the Thomas Walther Collection

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)


28 Nov 2001 to 03 Mar 2002

Curator: Rachel Kent

About the exhibition

Other Pictures was an exhibition of black and white photography by anonymous amateurs, whose ‘happy accidents’ and ‘successful failures’ gave a unique and fascinating insight into this often overlooked area of photography. The exhibition comprised more than 100 images assembled by collector Thomas Walther. German-born and based in New York, Walther is widely acknowledged as one of the finest collectors of twentieth century avant-garde photography, assembling his collection of anonymous photographs during the 1990s by scouring flea markets, family albums and attic shoe-boxes.

The pictures dated from the 1910s through the 1960s – the golden age of the black and white snapshot but also, and not coincidentally, the era when photography came into its own as an art form uniquely suited for capturing the texture and spirit of modern life. The exhilarating rumble and flash of modernity that bewitched the European New Vision photographers of the 1920s was evident throughout the exhibition in the sheer number of trains, automobiles, television sets, dirigibles and airplanes, and in the fun-house distortions, negative prints, bird’s-eye views, mirror images and abstractions.