Personal Propaganda: Reading Early Portraits photography by James Hull

Transit Gallery, Harvard Medical School, Longwood Campus, Gordon Hall - Lower Level

September 9 - October 27, 2015 / Reception Wednesday, September 30, 4 - 6 PM

(Press Release PDF Here)

photography by James Hull

This is an image comparing a 1st Century BCE sculptural bust (Roman, Republican Era) with an 1887 Cabinet Card


Cabinet Cards from the Hull family archive - these cards were in the Album of Frances Hull (Fannie), daughter of Susan Frances Payne

(Susan is pictured 3rd from left)

Personal Propaganda: Reading Early Portraits

In this solo exhibition, James Hull draws on years of experience in Art Museums to connect his documentary photography project: "The Restoration Series", that depicts conservation and repairs to famous artworks, with a collection of early photographic portraits from the 1870's and 1880's gathered from his own family archives.

The overlap between the "Verism" of Republican sculptural busts ( the Roman period, not the Party) from the 1st and 2nd Century B.C.E. and the brutal honesty of the photographic poses that resulted from the long exposures needed for Ambrotypes, Tin types, and early Albumen prints reveals how power is portrayed in both epochs.

The "Restoration Series" (2007-2015) features documentary photographs that highlight the specialized care provided to ancient cultural objects on display in museums and archeological sites around the world. The anachronistic juxtapositions captured while artisans carefully work using modern technlogies and equipment re-contextualizes the objects, taking them out of an Art Historical timeline and placing them in our time, as rare survivors of war, floods, re-development or civic unrest.

These aged surfaces and the visual evidence of repairs creates a more tactile view of the structure and the perilous condition of these works of art emphasizing the importance and educational value that first-hand experience of historical sites and objects can provide for generations.


These two are larger Cabinet Cards from the Hull family archive

This larger Cabinet card is from the Texas branch of the family, the Fullwoods


Restoration Series: Vatican Museum, Chiaramonte Gallery, Portrait head of Sulla? c.1st Century C.E. by James Hull (2007)


Restoration Series: Painting Repair, Santa Maria in Aracoeli, Rome by James Hull (2011)

Restoration Series: Emperor Repair (1st Cent.B.C.E.), Capitoline Museum, Rome by James Hull (2007)