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Photography - Expo Philadelphia 1876

Photography at the Exhibition Expo Philadelphia 1876
Photography at the Exhibition Expo Philadelphia 1876

This structure was specially prepared for the photography exhibition, for which there was no space in the art gallery.

This building is located east of Memorial Hall and north of the main exhibition building. It is 258 feet long and 107 feet wide. The style is French Renaissance. The monotony of the length is broken by the bay windows and porticoes. The height of the gallery is one floor, but the interior is high.

The exhibition space is divided by 28 hanging screens, 4 of which in the centre are 19 feet long and the other 24 long each. They stand 16 feet apart and are T-shaped, beautifully lit and useful for display. The smaller screens each provide 190 square feet of hanging space. The larger ones are forty-eight spaces, each with a surface area of 240 square feet.

The walls of the building add an additional 5320 feet of professional display space. In total, the screens and walls provide 19,080 feet of available hanging space, with no images to be hung within 2 hours of the floor.

The exhibition of actinic pictures is very fine, and contrasted in memory with the early results of Daguerre's discoveries and the productions of the Talbotype, it shows immense progress in this branch of artistic science.

Photography has been regarded by many as an automatic process in which chemical action prevails throughout the preparation of the plate and the direct interposition of the sun's rays, the formation of the image, the securing of the fugitive print on the plate, the transfer to the sensitive paper, and the fixing of the print and other processes until it is presented with finished effect. Chemistry plays the principal part in this wonderful drama; but it is like any other drama which, however finely written, loses most of its impression if the parts are played by poor actors.

Knowledge, study, practical experience and, above all, good taste are necessary to the photographer; and how much these qualities are required is shown by the varieties of pictures in this exhibition. They are all very good, but there are some that catch the eye even of uneducated viewers.

Germany, Austria, England, France and the United States provide the collection and many of the pieces present the highest degree of interest.

Members of the photographic profession throughout the United States joined the movement that led to the construction of this building, and it was erected at their expense.

Cost, $26,000.

Materials, iron, brick, glass and bronze. The roof is made entirely of glass, so that the light projected on the pictures is clear and soft, bringing out the most delicate details and effects.

©Centennial portfolio: a souvenir of the international exhibition at Philadelphia - 1876