NPR: The Crusade For Color Photography

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Life is in color. So it seems pretty obvious to photograph in color, especially nowadays when black-and-white photography seems “classic” — i.e., hopelessly retro. But that wasn’t always the case. Back in the ’60s and ’70s — at least in the art world — color photography was a source of major contention. In the spirit of revolt, or individuality, or just plain curiosity, a few photographers were on a crusade to permit the polychrome. The images below are from a Cincinnati exhibition that reexamines that period in photography.// It’s not that color photography was unheard of. It populated the pages of magazines and filled picture frames and wallets. But those were snapshots, not art — so said the critics. Color, on the whole, was deemed kitschy, garish and vulgar. A few small color exhibitions appeared in the early ’70s, but the real departure came in 1976, when William Eggleston showed his color work at the Museum of Modern Art. It was the first time the museum had dedicated a solo show to color photography — and it did not go over well. READ ALL

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