Wilbur H. Porterfield (1873-1958), Aurora, 1916; gelatin silver print, 7 5/16 x 9 1/4 inches (Frame: 8 1/8 x 10 in.ches); Gift of Anthony Bannon, 1991
Shadows and Reflections: Pictorial Photography by Wilbur H. Porterfield
Organized by Gillian Greenhill Hannum for the Palmer Museum of Art at Pennsylvania State University
On View Saturday, October 23, 1999–Sunday, February 6, 2000
Wilbur H. Porterfield was a founding member of the Photo-Pictorialists of Buffalo, established in 1906 to promote artistic photography in upstate New York. Their goal was to elevate photography as an art form by adopting characteristics associated with painting, so they employed a soft focus, classical compositional structure, traditional subject matter (portraiture, still life and landscape), and in some cases, hand manipulation of the print or negative.
Porterfield gained an international reputation for his style of photography that often portrayed the Western New York landscape, and his photographs regularly appeared in The Sunday Courier-Express in a pictorial spread called “As Porterfield Sees It” until his death in 1958. This exhibition included work from all phases of his career, including examples from the museum’s collections and the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society. It was curated by Gillian Greenhill Hannum, professor and chair of the Department of Art History at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York for the Palmer Museum of Art at Pennsylvania State University.