Manipulated Photographs from the Burns Archive
Publication Date: December 15, 2008
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News Art: Manipulated Photographs from the Burns Archive presents the unexplored visual history of the melding of art, photography, and journalism. It is the first work to document the fascinating combination of art and photography necessary to achieve accurate copy or story emphasis in newspapers. These images from 1900–1960 illustrate the range of art enhancement—from simple outlining or airbrushing to complete overpainting. They are all individual creations, one-of-akind photographs. Even if other newspapers used a copy of the same photograph, as was often the case, the artistic preparation was unique. The subjects are as varied as our world: crime scenes, world events, social and business personalities, and human interest stories. All were important in their time and some stand as timeless icons.
One of the characteristics of collecting art is the concept of owning an “original” work. These hand-painted news photographs offer collectors that opportunity in a photographic field that is still available and open to discovery. Connoisseurs of subjects such as crime, sports, and theatre can find powerful and unique images to expand the depth of their collections. News Art will serve as a guide to these fascinating photographs, providing curators and collectors a primary resource for comparison, identification, and rarity.
Stanley B. Burns, MD, FACS, a practicing New York City ophthalmic surgeon, is also an internationally distinguished photo-historian, author, lecturer, curator, and collector. He has written 17 award-winning photohistory books and hundreds of articles, curated dozens of exhibitions, and collected 800,000 images, including the most comprehensive compilation of early hand-colored photography. In 1995, he published Forgotten Marriage: The Painted Tintype and the Decorative Frame, an exposé on the art of painting photographs that explored the close relationship that hand-colored photographs have to paintings. In 2006, he penned Geisha: A Photographic History 1872–1912, documenting the painted photographs of Japan, concentrating on the portrayal of Geisha and their traditional arts and distinguishing them from the prostitute classes.
Sara Cleary-Burns has been involved in the art world for many years. Since 1985 she has chosen to concentrate on photography as art, specializing in early hand-colored images in their original frames, as well as manipulated photographs. In pursuit of these interests she turned her hand to mounting and presenting museum exhibitions, such as the highly successful Forgotten Marriage, which toured throughout the United States. As an archivist, administrator, fundraiser, and publicist, she has been involved with some of the major photographic collections of the United States.
Jeff Rosenheim is the Curator of the Department of Photographs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. An influential advocate for photography as a significant art medium, Rosenheim was responsible for bringing to the Metropolitan the complete archives of Walker Evans and Diane Arbus. He has lectured extensively in the U.S. and abroad, and has taught at Columbia University, NYU, and Bard College.