June 9, 2020
Oklahoma History Center’s Newest Photo Exhibit to Present the “Ordinary”
OKLAHOMA CITY — Beginning June 22, the Oklahoma History Center will offer a new photographic exhibit entitled “In the Vernacular: Everyday Images of Oklahoma Life,” which will celebrate everyday image-making. The exhibit is expected to run for approximately one year, and is composed of 36 black-and-white and color images curated from the Oklahoma Historical Society’s photographic collections. It will feature fun, quirky and sometimes odd images of Oklahomans. The photos were taken for a variety of purposes, including souvenir postcards, government archives, police case files, pin-up posters, networking websites, magazines, newspapers and family albums.
Vernacular photography is a genre comprised of family and professional studio portraits as well as casual snapshots. These images are usually created by amateur photographers for documenting personal history. In the book “African American Vernacular Photography,” Brian Wallis, curator of the Walther Collection, describes the genre as “banal photographs, often recorded by the most ordinary photographers, small-town studio operators, professional photographers on assignment, dads with cameras in the backyard.” According to Wallis, these images “belie no apparent aesthetic ambition other than to record what passes in front of their camera with reasonable fidelity.”
The exhibit will be on display in the Cooper and Gladys West Atrium Wing and Gallery. The Oklahoma History Center is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located at 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive in Oklahoma City. For more information, please call 405-522-0765.
The Oklahoma History Center is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society and is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, National Archives and is an accredited member of the American Alliance of Museums. The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.