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Carnegie Museum of Art Amnnounce Hillman Photography Initiative

It pervades our world. Every day, millions of images are created, appropriated, and erased from existence. Carnegie Museum of Art’s Hillman Photography Initiative, an incubator for innovative thinking about the photographic image, launches today, with a suite of projects, all revolving around the lifecycle of images. Join the conversation at

The Invisible Photograph, Part I: Underground (production still). Photo: Adam Ryan. © Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.
The Invisible Photograph, Part I: Underground (production still). Photo: Adam Ryan. © Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.
Four projects consider the lifecycle of images
The Invisible Photograph
The Invisible Photograph, a five-part documentary series, investigates the expansive realm of photographic production, distribution, and consumption by way of the hidden side of photography, whether guarded, stashed away, barely recognizable, or simply forgotten. Part I, live today, visits the Corbis Image Archive at Iron Mountain in Butler, PA, which contains millions of photographs, 220 feet underground, stored under refrigeration and kept under extremely tight security. On May 10, Part II premieres at the Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) Theater, looking at the high- and low-tech hacks that retrieved Andy Warhol’s Amiga computer experiments from obsolete disks.

Contributors include Cory Arcangel, Keith Cowing, Divya Rao Heffley, Jon Ippolito, Golan Levin, Arthur Ou, and Joachim Schmid.

This Picture
With millions of images produced and shared every day, what is the value of a single image? What can it do, and how does it travel? This Picture explores the breadth of what photographic images can say and do by tracking the responses and feedback a single image can trigger and generate. Each month, the museum invites the public to submit responses to a carefully selected photograph. Responses take many forms and generate a constellation of conversations. Writing by select experts in art, technology, and social sciences wrap up the responses to each month’s image.

Contributors include Maurice Berger, Marco Bohr, Pete Brook, Catherine Evans, Marvin Heiferman, Laurie Simmons, and Nancy West.

The Sandbox: At Play with the Photobook
The photobook is a thriving medium for encountering a group of images, and the preferred presentation of many photographers. It is growing, despite the digital dissemination of images. Photographers and owners of Spaces Corners bookstore, Melissa Catanese and Ed Panar, will set up and staff a pop-up reading room and event space at the museum from May 3 to July 28. With a themed, rotating selection of books and related events, The Sandbox investigates the many ways that photobooks present and display images for interpretation.

Contributors include Archive of Modern Conflict, Nicholas Muellner, and Eline Mugaas.

Pittsburghers live around the world. The yearlong A People’s History of Pittsburgh project, also led by Catanese and Panar, reaches into family albums and shoeboxes, compiling photographs and stories from the city’s residents to create a narrative online archive. Catanese and Panar will conclude the project by editing and co-publishing a print photobook with CMOA, which will function as a collective photo album for the people of the city and its surrounding area.

Orphaned Images
“Orphaned images” are increasingly common. They are itinerant images that have been posted online, shared, manipulated, circulated, and corrupted. Through this displacement, and widespread digital dissemination, they find new lives in unexpected places. They have been removed from their original authors or creators, reused, and appropriated. The Orphaned Images project includes written and artist commissions around the pressing issues raised by these conditions, and investigates how photographs produce and take on meaning, both online and offline, in the world outside the artist’s studio. Launching in the fall of 2014, Orphaned Images expands upon discussions about appropriation, distribution, transmission, and surveillance, and considers new forms of photographic materiality, value, and agency.

Contributors include Alex Klein, Tina Kukielski, and Illah Nourbakhsh.

To participate in the projects, watch The Invisible Photograph, browse the Initiative’s robust schedule of events, and follow the discussions, visit

The first cycle of projects from the Hillman Photography Initiative at Carnegie Museum of Art charts an ambitious course for one of the most forward-thinking photography programs at any museum. To learn more, please read our recent press release.

Support for the Hillman Photography Initiative was provided by the William T. Hillman Foundation, and the Henry L. Hillman Foundation.

General operating support for Carnegie Museum of Art is provided by The Heinz Endowments and Allegheny Regional Asset District. Carnegie Museum of Art receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Carnegie Museum of Art
Located at 4400 Forbes Avenue in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Art was founded by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1895. One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, it is nationally and internationally recognized for its distinguished collection of American and European painting, sculpture, and decorative arts from the 19th century to the present. Founded in 1896, the Carnegie International is one of the oldest surveys of contemporary art worldwide. The Heinz Architectural Center, part of Carnegie Museum of Art, is dedicated to enhancing understand of the built environment through its exhibitions, collections, and public programs. The Hillman Photography Initiative serves as an incubator for innovative thinking about the photographic image. For more information about Carnegie Museum of Art, call T +1 412 622 3131