Art on Film: International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum
A picture is worth a thousand words. As cliché as that expression is, photography is undoubtedly powerful, capturing moments that would otherwise go forgotten and unseen. In a time when many people grab their phones instead of their cameras, the importance of preserving photographic history and honoring the true geniuses behind the lens is vital. That’s the mission of the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum in the Grand Center Arts District, an institution that treasures this emotive art form and strives to share it with the world.
On Nov. 17, the IPHF will host its annual Hall of Fame Induction & Awards Ceremony, co-chaired by Pat Whitaker and Dick Miles. This year’s nine inductees include many well-known names, like Anne Geddes, widely known for her photos of infants; James Nachtwey, an American photojournalist and war photographer; and William Eggleston, an instrumental figure in legitimizing color photography as art. “All were selected for their artistry, passion and revolution of photography,” says executive director Patty Wente. The ceremony, held at the .ZACK, will include the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to Kenny Rogers.
“Most don’t know about Kenny Rogers as a photographer, but he is known among professional photographers for amazing portrait and landscape photography,” Wente says. “He received an honorary master of photography degree from the Professional Photographers of America in 2014.” The country music star is not the first musician to be inducted into the IPHF. Graham Nash was inducted last year. “Nash is an accomplished photographer who revolutionized digital printing, which most people don’t know,” Wente says. “It is the mission of the IPHF to not only recognize pioneers in the industry, but also to educate the public about photography history.”
The IPHF offers lectures and other educational opportunities and will soon release its schedule for the fall. “We have lectures on everything from the history of photography to kids with cameras to iPhone photography,” Wente says. “We invite speakers from around the world to share their photographic expertise.”
Exhibits at the IPHF also offer the public a chance to engage with history. “The IPHF has a collection of more than 30,000 images and more than 5,000 cameras. We rotate exhibitions to showcase the collection,” Wente says. This February, the photography of Vivian Maier will be on display, and visitors currently can view the work of Jason Hailey in The Selective Eye: Photography as Abstraction through Nov. 4. Also on display through Sept. 16 is Adolf Fassbender’s photograph of the Jan. 24, 1925, total solar eclipse. It is the only known photograph showing the eclipse and landscape on the same film. Following the induction ceremony in November, the work of the Lifetime Achievement winner and inductees will be on display until Feb. 10, 2018.
Wente says St. Louis is an appropriate location for this institution—and one the community should cherish. “The IPHF started in Illinois, moved to California and then settled in Oklahoma City for several years,” she notes. “When it came time to move again, there was a nationwide search, and St. Louis was the perfect fit. There are more than 40 local institutions that offer photography instruction here, from high schools to graduate programs. And the St. Louis camera club is one of the oldest in the United
States, having held its first meeting in 1914!”
Pictured: Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Kenny Rogers
Photo: Kelly Junkermann
The International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum celebrates the achievements of inventors, pioneers and artists in the field of photography. The nonprofit hosts its annual induction ceremony Nov. 17, and lead sponsors are Collins & Hermann; Steward Family Foundation; and Emerson. Pictured on the cover: IPHF medallions created by Adam Foster Fine Art Jewelry. For more information, call 314.535.1999 or visit iphf.org.
Cover design by the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum | Cover photo by Adam Foster