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Troubling Images: Curating Collections of Historical Photographs

This is a composite image featuring four headshots, including two women and two men. The photos are arranged in a grid pattern.
Clockwise from top left: Mark Sealy, courtesy of Steve Pyke; Ilisa Barbash, courtesy of Kris Snibbe / Harvard Gazette; Makeda Best, courtesy of Unique Nicole; and David Odo, courtesy of Matthew Monteith.

Lecture Leventritt Lecture

This event was recorded. Please view the lecture here.

Historical photography collections sometimes contain images that can be deeply troubling to contemporary viewers. What should be done with collections that include photographs of colonial violence, enslaved subjects, racist stereotypes, or other difficult imagery?

Join moderator David Odo and photography curators Mark Sealy, Makeda Best, and Ilisa Barbash for a conversation about the challenges and possibilities of curating legacy collections of photographs today.

Presented in partnership with the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology and the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture.

Mark Sealy, Director of Autograph A.B.P. and Principal Fellow Decolonising Photography at University of the Arts London

Makeda Best, Richard L. Menschel Curator of Photography, Harvard Art Museums

Ilisa Barbash, Curator of Visual Anthropology, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University

David Odo, Director of Academic and Public Programs, Division Head, and Research Curator, Harvard Art Museums

This talk will take place online via Zoom. Free admission, but registration is required. To register, please complete this online form.

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Support for the lecture is provided by the M. Victor Leventritt Fund, which was established through the generosity of the wife, children, and friends of the late M. Victor Leventritt, Harvard Class of 1935. The purpose of the fund is to present outstanding scholars of the history and theory of art to the Harvard and Greater Boston communities.

The Harvard Art Museums are committed to accessibility for all visitors. For anyone requiring accessibility accommodations for our programs, please contact us at at least 48 hours in advance.