Pieces of Time

"This exhibit captures the power of photography," comments Hal Gould, owner of Camera Obscura Gallery, about the gallery's newest show, Live With History: Photography From The New York Times Photo Archives, which opens Friday, January 7. "It shows all that photography can do -- how it can capture that moment, events that would otherwise be forgotten; how it can refresh our memories, remind us that there is more than meets the eye. It give us our own history in a nutshell."

Over more than a century of daily chronicling, no one has done all that better than the New York Times. Its award-winning photographers have documented all the important moments of the modern era, and the traveling collection on display at Camera Obscura -- shots pulled from the newspaper's repository, which houses more than seven million prints and negatives -- offers a synopsis of the moments and images that have come to define society.

The exhibit includes the iconic shot of President Abraham Lincoln standing outside the tents at the Antietam battle site in 1862. "Oasis in the Badlands, 1905," which features a Native American chief sitting atop a horse bowing to drink from a pool, captures the quiet dignity of a rapidly disappearing people. There's a print of Jackie Robinson stealing home at Ebbets Field in 1952, and one of Joe DiMaggio's smooth, effortless swing in 1941. Also on display is the famous photograph of Harry S. Truman holding the premature edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune with the banner headline "Dewey defeats Truman," from 1948. There are shots taken overseas, such as "Prime Minister Winston Churchill inspects the Guard of Honor in London in 1943." Also hanging in the show are many classic Americana photos like that of a young boy, all seeds and smiles, at a watermelon-eating contest in 1935, and a picture of great shafts of light beaming into Grand Central Station.

When viewed as a collection, the photographs powerfully and effortlessly tell the story of the changing face of America and the world.

"In the course of nearly sixty prints, in a short time of viewing, you're transported back through the past century," says Gould.

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Adam Cayton-Holland

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