Bressai

The Original Copy at MoMA

The Original Copy at MoMA

Lee Friedlander’s “Mount Rushmore”
For those too impatient to wait the 8 hours for exposure required by Joseph Niepce’s camera obscura, 1839 was a pretty exciting time. It was the year Louis Dageurre perfected his daguerreotype, which didn’t fade and needed less than 30 minutes for exposure. It’s also the starting point of MoMA’s upcoming exhibition “The Original Copy: Photography of Sculpture, 1839 to today.” Don’t overlook that tiny preposition of. When the daguerreotype popularized photography, one of its very first subjects were sculptures. It satisfied a dual purpose. One, as sculptures were less mobile (if not entirely immobile) than paintings, sculptors needed their work photographed so it could reach a wider audience. Second, sculptures made ideal subjects. 30 minutes may be a lot less than 8 hours, but it’s still a pretty long time to ask a person to pose without moving.