Sitting Pretty: Portrait Photography from the Salon to the Selfie features long-hidden treasures from the Museum of Ventura County’s collection of photographic and painted portraits. It will open on August 22nd and will be on display through November 29, 2015.
Formal, framed portraits of well-known city pioneers, such as Dr. Cephas Bard, Dr. Manuel R. de Poli and Mrs. Concepcion Sepulveda de la Guerra, as well as lesser-known names were culled from the Museum’s storied permanent holdings. The works on view range from elaborately framed formal portraits to light-hearted depictions of children, many of which are from the studio of John Calvin Brewster, a Ventura portraitist who established a studio on Main Street in 1875. The exhibit also offers a chance to see rare daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes, including one of Jose de la Rosa, the first notable California printer who settled in San Buenaventura in 1880.
The range of photographic processes shown in the more than 30 works spanning 120 years, explores the technical evolution of photography. The advent of the roll film camera and digital technology have changed the roles of the professional portrait photographer. Also, the relative affordability of the photo gave a broader range of people the opportunity to own an image of themselves and loved ones, a luxury previously reserved for the wealthy who could afford to commission an artist to render a painting.
The current “selfie” craze makes everyone a photographer in the moment, without replacing the need for the trained photographer who has something we could never have—objectivity.
The Museum of Ventura County is located at 100 E. Main Street, Ventura. Visit www.venturamuseum.org for more information.