Shotgun Reviews are an open forum where we invite the international art community to contribute timely, short-format responses to an exhibition or event. If you are interested in submitting a Shotgun Review, please click this link for more information. In this Shotgun Review, Christina Nafziger reviews All That Glitters Is Not Gold: Platinum Photography from the Center for Creative Photography at the Phoenix Art Museum in Phoenix, Arizona.
In a world where modern technology has made many traditional artistic processes obsolete, the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson and the Phoenix Art Museum have launched a historical investigation of the platinum print. Referencing the artistic and fiscal value of this photographic method, All That Glitters Is Not Gold is an intimate, chronologically curated exhibition that begins with the invention of the platinum print in 1873, and follows its use and development in portraiture up through its revival in the 1970s and into contemporary culture.
Walking through this photo-historical time lapse, visitors see not only a shift in subject matter, but also a noticeable change in photographic quality. In a progression of dark gray to white, the colors of the walls become lighter to visually separate the time periods. Displayed on a dark gray wall is a small, untitled, dream-like portrait by Alice Boughton (c. 1900). Platinum prints are appreciated for their vast range of values and soft renderings, but even in this early moment of photographic portraiture, the indirect light and figure placement within the composition demonstrate a desire for experimentation. Through works of photographic experimentation, the exhibition unexpectedly addresses the status of photography as fine art.