Nov. 9, 2022
6:30 p.m. CST [Doors open at 6:00 p.m.]
Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin
Sid Richardson Hall, 2300 Red River St., Austin, TX 78712
Self-parking is available in the Manor Garage.
About the Program:
Please join the Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin for a special program held in conjunction with its current major exhibition, Present/Past: The Robert Polidori Photographic Archive. The event features photographer Robert Polidori, one of the world’s most acclaimed photographers of human habitats and environments, joined in conversation with Steven Hoelscher, associate dean for academic affairs for UT Austin’s College of Liberal Arts and professor of American Studies.
Polidori is best known for his detailed, large-format color film photographs that explore the built world, capturing layers of history in extraordinary detail. His photographs bear witness to the passage of time, capturing the impact of humanity and the passage of time on environments. The Briscoe Center is home to the Robert Polidori Photographic Print Archive, a comprehensive collection of the photographer’s work to the present day.
The program will feature a conversation between Polidori and Hoelscher on the aesthetic and evidentiary significance of Polidori’s work. The discussion will explore Polidori’s methods and choices as a photographer, including the tension in his work between beauty and decay.
Reception to follow. Reservations are required. Please send your RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Guests will have the opportunity to tour the Present/Past exhibit before and after the program.
Sid Richardson Hall is located on The University of Texas at Austin campus at 2300 Red River Street. The Briscoe Center is in the middle of the three units. Self-parking is available in the Manor Garage.
About Robert Polidori:
Robert Polidori is one of the world’s most acclaimed photographers, known for his meticulously detailed, large-format color film photographs. Polidori’s images record a visual citation of both past history and the present times within the confines of a single frame. His subjects include the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and subsequent flooding in New Orleans, the ruins of Pompeii, the Château de Versailles, Havana and Chernobyl. His current work deals with population and urban growth through photographs of cities around the world, including Mumbai, Rio de Janeiro and Amman.
Polidori’s work has been featured in major international exhibitions and galleries, including “New Orleans After the Flood” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 2006. He was a contributor and staff photographer for The New Yorker from 1998 to 2006, and his work also has been featured in such publications as Vanity Fair and Architectural Digest, as well as 15 books by Steidl Publishing. Individual prints of his work are held in numerous collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Bibliothèque Nationale and The Centre Pompidou in Paris. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship for photography in 2020, won the World Press Award in 2008, and he has twice won the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Magazine Photography (1999 and 2000).
About Steven Hoelscher:
Professor Steven D. Hoelscher is the associate dean for academic affairs for UT Austin’s College of Liberal Arts and the Stiles Professor of American Studies and Geography. His research interests include the history of photography; American race and racism; North American and European urbanism; social constructions of space and place; and cultural memory. He joined UT Austin’s Department of American Studies in 2000 after completing his Ph.D. in Geography at the University of Wisconsin. During 2003-2004, he was Senior Fulbright Professor in the North American Studies Program at the University of Bonn. In 2005, Dr. Hoelscher received the University of Texas President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award.
Hoelscher’s books include Reading Magnum (recognized as a 2013 Photo Book of the Year by American Photo Magazine), Picturing Indians (winner of the 2009 Wisconsin Historical Society Book Award of Merit), Heritage on Stage, and Textures of Place (co-edited with Karen Till and Paul Adams). He splits his time between American Studies and the Harry Ransom Center, where he is the faculty curator of Photography.
About the Exhibit:
With selections from Polidori’s comprehensive photographic archive, Present/Past: The Robert Polidori Photographic Archive takes viewers beyond the widely acknowledged aesthetic value of his images. The large-format prints on display include Polidori’s significant projects: the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and subsequent flooding in New Orleans, the Château de Versailles, Havana, and Chernobyl, as well as his Metropolis series, which documents population and urban growth. In addition, the exhibit includes materials from the full breadth of the Polidori Archive. From his initial Polaroids and annotated images to proofs and final prints, Present/Past reveals the layers of evidence contained in the collection as a whole.
The Briscoe Center is grateful to a Chicago-area family who generously donated the Robert Polidori Photographic Archive for teaching and research. Present/Past was made possible with support from the Briscoe Family Endowment. It was designed by McKinney York Architects.