ONEONTA PHOTOGRAPHERS, 1850 - 1930
The Greater Oneonta Historical Society's Fall exhibition will be Oneonta Photographers, 1850 - 1930."
The first photographers in Oneonta produced daguerreotypes, the first publically available photographs. The daguerreotype, an image made on a copper plate, was perfected in Paris in 1839 and came to America in 1840. By 1850, Oneonta's first known photographer, Samuel Beach, had a daguerreotype studio in the village. When it was learned how to make a negative on a glass plate, multiple copies of photographs could be produced on paper and photography blossomed. Even so, many of the early photographers had short-lived businesses. Until Oneonta's population grew as the result of the coming of the railroad, there wasn't enough business for full-time work. To have a long-term studio in Oneonta, a photographer had to keep up with current trends and equipment, be a sound businessman, and, above all, produce photographs that the public would want to buy.
The exhibition features the careers of eight successful Oneonta photographers as well as several photographers of short duration and examples of their work. William Mereness specialized in stereoscopic images that appeared in 3D when seen through a stereopticon viewer. His pictures give us a good look at Oneonta in the 1870s and 1880s. Perry Young produced attractive portraits mounted on "cabinet cards." In the 1890s, Young did a great deal of the photographic work for the new Oneonta State Normal School (today's SUNY Oneonta). Hamilton Van Woert and William Warnken had the longest operating studios that lasted well into the 20th century.
Besides the portraits and views of Oneonta by photographers featured in the exhibition, on display will be early photograph forms and 19th-century cameras.
The exhibition will open on Monday, September 10. A reception will be held on Saturday, September 15 from 2:00 to 4:00 PM to which the public is cordially invited.
The Greater Oneonta Historical Society's History Center on the corner of Main and Dietz Streets is open to the public Mondays through Fridays 12:00 noon to 4: 00 PM and Saturday 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
For more information, contact info@OneontaHistory.org or call (607) 432-0960.
Written by exhibition curator Wayne Wright (email@example.com; (607) 432-6294) distributed by GOHS executive director Bob Brzozowski (director@OneontaHistory.org, (607) 432-0960), who may be contacted for examples of images included in the exhibition.