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Harold Edgerton, A Pioneer of Flash Technology, Is Celebrated In An Upcoming Exhibition At The Whitney Museum of American Art

Posted by on February 27, 2018 | Photographer Interviews

In the early 1930s, Harold Edgerton, who died in 1990, developed flash technology that allowed him to photography objects and events moving faster than the eye can perceive. Although he was uncomfortable being recognized as an artist, his images were extraordinary, capturing moments in time so perfectly frozen that they seem almost sculptural.

In an exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art that opens on March 30, a selection of forty images captured by Edgerton from the 1930s through the 1960s will be on display. Drawn from a collection of 122 of Edgerton’s works held in the museum’s permanent collection, the images look contemporary, as if they were created with today’s advanced technology. Subjects include a golfer winding up for a swing; a halo of milk left in the wake of a dropped object; and a bullet shot through a playing card.

Born in Nebraska, Edgerton studied electrical engineering, and received a Doctorate in Science from MIT in 1931. Throughout his career, he collaborated with photographers and scientists to create new methods of photography. His equipment was even used by Jacques Cousteau in his searches for shipwrecks and the Loch Ness monster.

A selection of images that will be on display in the exhibition is below. For more information, visit the Whitney’s website.

All images © 2010 MIT. Courtesy of MIT Museum.

Harold Edgerton (1903-1990), Cutting the Card Quickly, 1964, printed 1987. Edition 55/125. Dye transfer print: sheet, 9 × 10 15/16 in. (22.9 × 27.8 cm); image, 7 5/8 × 10 in. (19.4 × 25.4 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of The Harold and Esther Edgerton Family Foundation 96.117.20.

Harold Edgerton (1903-1990), Dennie Shute, 1938. Gelatin silver print, 14 3/4 × 15 7/8 in. (37.5 × 40.3 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of The Harold and Esther Edgerton Family Foundation 96.117.27.

Harold Edgerton (1903-1990), Milk Drop Coronet, 1957, printed 1984-90. Edition 109/150. Dye transfer print: sheet, 19 15/16 × 16 in. (50.6 × 40.6 cm); image, 18 3/8 × 13 3/8 in. (46.7 × 34 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of The Harold and Esther Edgerton Family Foundation 96.126.3.

Harold Edgerton (1903-1990), Jumping Girl, 1940. Edition 13/20. Dye transfer print: sheet, 20 × 15 1/8 in. (50.8 × 38.4 cm); image, 16 7/8 × 12 11/16 in. (42.9 × 32.2 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of The Harold and Esther Edgerton Family Foundation 96.117.57

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