The Logic of the Copy: Four Decades of Photography in Print

Image: Betty Hahn, Untitled (The Lone Ranger), 1976 from The New Mexico Portfolio, 1976. Collection Center for Creative Photography © Betty Hahn

At the beginning of the twentieth century, newly perfected photographic printmaking techniques made it possible to reproduce photographic images in ink cheaply and in massive quantities. As a result, photographic imagery made its way into books, newspapers, magazines, posters, billboards, and postcards. By mid-century, photography, specifically photography in print, was a dominant form of visual communication. A diversity of artists began adopting photographic printmaking techniques. They were drawn to the hybrid medium’s potential for accurate reproduction, its integration of a graphic aesthetic with a photographic one, and its democratic nature. These artists developed a range of interdisciplinary approaches that broadened the definition of art. Their prescient investigations of the role of the printed photograph anticipated the ubiquity of the photographic image in our current digital moment.

This exhibition explores the intersections of photography and printmaking from 1960 through the turn of the twenty-first century. It comprises prints, artist’s books, and working materials from the collections of Phoenix Art Museum, the University of Arizona Center for Creative Photography, and Special Collections at the University of Arizona Libraries.