« All News

Press Release: State Museum Photo Exhibit Demonstrates a Legacy of Innovation for Pennsylvania Photographers

September 20, 2018

Filed under Changing Exhibits, Collections, Exhibit Opening, Exhibits, Fine Arts, Press Releases

Sol Mednick – Untitled, c 1955 Gelatin silver print

The State Museum of Pennsylvania presents Innovative Means: Photography from the Collection. This concisely edited exhibition, which opens with a free public reception on Friday, October 19, at 5:30 PM, showcases the artistry and creative approaches of 26 Pennsylvania photographers represented in The State Museum’s Fine Art Collection.

Spanning nearly 80 years, the 29 photographs reveal a timeline of innovations in fine art photography. As advancing camera and film technologies changed mobility and speed, photographers continued to experiment with alternative methods through the lens, in the darkroom, and into the age of digital media. Some photographers create through composition, perspective and cropping. Other artists have abandoned the camera altogether.

Innovative Means:  Photography from the Collection runs through Sunday, February 17, 2019.

In the 1950s and 1960s, artists such as Sol Mednick experimented through altered exposures, light graphics and collage.  While teaching at the Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts), he founded the photography department, thus influencing generations of photographers within both the university and the greater city of Philadelphia.

David Lebe, also featured in the exhibit, is well known for his light graphics. His Garden Series #33, 1985, is a cameraless photograph created by exposing a variety of objects on light-sensitive paper and adding hand coloring.

Ron Tarver established an Edward Hopper–like sense of isolation in Vented Steam, c. 1999, by using a long exposure on a cold winter’s night on Callowhill Street in Philadelphia.

R. Andrew Hoff turned to available technology, using a digital camera and an inkjet print to create the most recent photograph in the exhibition, Barlup’s Appliances, 2015.

With the ability to take and share images globally with a few clicks of a smartphone, it is important to consider the significance and artistry of a photograph.

Pennsylvania has a strong history of innovations in fine art photography. The photographers highlighted in Innovative Means continue to expand on the potential of photography as we look to the future.


The State Museum of Pennsylvania, adjacent to the State Capitol in Harrisburg, is one of 24 historic sites and museums administered by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission as part of the Pennsylvania Trails of History. The State Museum offers expansive collections interpreting Pennsylvania’s fascinating heritage. With exhibits examining the dawn of geologic time, the Native American experience, the colonial and revolutionary eras, a pivotal Civil War battleground, and the commonwealth’s vast industrial age, The State Museum demonstrates that Pennsylvania’s story is America’s story.

Museum hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and Sunday, 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Admission is $7 for adults (ages 12-64), $6 for senior citizens (ages 65 and up), and $5 for children (ages 1-11).

The State Museum has joined other museums across the country in Museums for All. This program enables low-income families to visit participating museums for a nominal fee of $2 per person with the presentation of an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card and identification. This offer is for general admission only and excludes special programs or events.

For more information about the museum, visit www.statemuseumpa.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT: Howard Pollman, 717-705-8639

# # #

Artists and photographers represented in Innovative Means: Photography from the Collection:

Robert Asman

Raymond Bell

Norinne Betjemann

Robert W. Bissett

John J. Carlano

Jack Carnell

Eugene Feldman

Alida Fish

Ruth Naomi Floyd

Bruce R. Fry

Andrew Hoff

Richard Kagan

David Lebe

Sol Mednick

W. Moore

Jeannie Pearce

Brian H. Peterson

Keith Shapiro

Joseph Skompski

Sandy Sorlien

Ron Tarver

Judith Taylor

Sarah Van Keuren

Jennifer Warner

Graydon Wood

Laura Zito