Apr 03, 2009 Doug Campbell Uncategorized
The Gallery at Cazenovia Public Library will soon present a photography exhibition by Central New York artist, Richard Walker highlighting its collection of treasures and artifacts. “Out of the Tomb, Into the Light”, a photographic re-discovery of the Cazenovia Public Library’s Egyptian collection, will be on display from April 20 to May 29.
“I was delighted to get a call from Patti Christakos of the Cazenovia Public Library last spring, asking me if I would be interested in photographing the library’s Egyptian Collection,” Walker said. “I jumped at the chance!”
Walker has had a notable career as a commercial still-life photographer, specializing in museum collections and American antiques and memorabilia. Clients and periodicals featuring his work include: Smithsonian Magazine, The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, The Adirondack Museum, Fenimore Art Museum, Adirondack Life, The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and many others.
“I’ve had the enjoyable opportunity of photographing many fascinating objects and collections: from Babe Ruth’s bat, to Abraham Lincoln’s hat, Geronimo’s quiver and arrows, to Doris Duke’s diamonds, sea shells, quilts, fishing lures, paintings and pin cushions, and now, the Egyptian treasures in Cazenovia.”
Walker’s original Cazenovia assignment was to document the library’s diverse collection of Egyptian antiquities collected and donated to the library in 1894 by Robert James Hubbard. Hubbard and his son, Robert F., traveled to Egypt with the expressed intent of finding artifacts for the people of Cazenovia and the Cazenovia Public Library. The library’s Egyptian collection — particularly Hubbard’s prize treasure, an Egyptian mummy dating from the Greco-Roman period, circa 104 B.C. — has been a source of community pride and learning for more than 100 years.
For three days last year, Walker worked with library staff and volunteers to photograph each Egyptian artifact, some from multiple angles.
For the current exhibition, Walker chose twenty of his favorite images from the more than 100 photographs he took. Many of the photographs illustrate intricate detailing that captured Walker’s attention, rather than documentation of the entire artifact.
“A revealing detail poking out from the mummy’s wrapping can make a more compelling photograph than the shot of the entire mummy,” explained Walker. “The camera and lighting reveal textures in fabric and materials that might otherwise go unnoticed in an exhibition display case. A close up of a hand-written label, from the late 1800’s, is as interesting as the shot of a valuable sculpture.”
Library Director Betsy Kennedy is thrilled with Walker’s photographs.
“To view our artifacts in this way, in this detail, is exciting. We were so pleased to have a photographer of Richard’s caliber documenting our collection. His photographs are incredibly artistic as well as informational,” she said.
After the exhibition, Walker’s photographs will be used as teaching tools for school groups and featured in the gallery’s digital information center. According to Kennedy, more than 900 students from Cazenovia and Central New York visit the library’s museum each year.
Walker’s exhibition is part of a larger initiative to enhance the library’s museum, furthering its mission of education. Funding for the Egyptian gallery renovations — including new lighting and displays, additional artifacts and a touch-screen digital information center — was provided by Central New York Community Foundation, the Constable Fund, and the Friends of the Cazenovia Public Library. Cazenovia Public Library’s museum educators, Pat Hill and Julia Shotzberger, are coordinating the project with help from The Exhibition Alliance, of Hamilton, New York and Jonathan Holstein and Tim Scanlon, of Cazenovia. Look for more details at midyork/cazenovia.org. The public is invited to attend the gallery’s grand re-opening celebration on Saturday, May 2.
“I’m very pleased to have had the experience of handling, photographing, and hopefully shedding new light on Cazenovia’s Egyptian collection,” said Walker. “The immediacy of digital photography has made these discoveries even more exciting and accessible.”
Walker will discuss his work and the exhibition on Friday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the library. His talk is sponsored by the Friends of the Cazenovia Public Library. For more information on photographer Richard Walker, visit richardwalkerphoto.com.
The Gallery at Cazenovia Public Library, 100 Albany Street, Cazenovia, is open during regular library hours: Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.