News + Features

Fall 2023 Photo Exhibits 

September 13, 2023

By Aimee Baldridge

Fall might be the season that most reminds us of the passage of time. This year’s fall photo exhibits take us back to the earliest days of the time-based medium, provide expansive views of 20th century imagery, and offer intriguing juxtapositions of old and new.  

Photo Exhibits Round Up

Proof: Maxime Du Camp’s Photographs of the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa 

Pyramid of Chephren (Khafre), Middle Egypt, 1852. Maxime Du Camp. Salted paper print (Blanquart-Évrard process) from paper negative. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Robert O. Dougan Collection, Gift of Warner Communications Inc., 1981. © Maxime Du Camp

This exhibit featuring images from the earliest days of the medium makes a good point of departure for exploring photo history. Maxime Du Camp traveled through North Africa and the Middle East in 1849, taking pictures that would end up in the first photographically illustrated book published in France. The exhibit gives you a peek into the process of this very early documentary photographer by showing you the proofs Du Camp made while preparing his book. It runs from October 23 through January 21 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. 

Painted Tintypes: Photography for the People 

African American Woman, unidentified artist. 1860–79. Photograph, tintype. Charles H. Bayley Picture and Painting Fund. 

Thin metal photographic prints that could be hand-painted became popular in the mid-19th century as an affordable alternative to painted portraits. This exhibit brings together about 40 of these tintypes, featuring people from all walks of life. You can see them through October 15 at the Museum of Fine Art Boston

African American Woman, unidentified artist. 1860–79. Photograph, tintype. Charles H. Bayley Picture and Painting Fund. 

Arresting Beauty: Julia Margaret Cameron 

The Mountain Nymph Sweet Liberty, Julia Margaret Cameron, 1866, albumen print. © The Royal Photographic Society Collection at the V&A, acquired with the generous assistance of the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Art Fund.

This retrospective of the 19th-century photographer’s work presents about 100 of her images, from early experiments with the then-new medium to the later portraits and allegorical compositions that brought her renown. The exhibit runs from October 10 through January 28 at the Jeu de Paume in Paris. 

While you’re at the Jeu de Paume, you can also check out Victor Burgin’s show, called simply “That.” As you might suspect, Burgin is a theorist as well as an artist. This exhibit presents over 50 years of his work, including photography, photo-text pieces, and video. It also runs October 10 through January 28.  

A Long Arc: Photography and the American South since 1845 

Untitled, 1963. © Ralph Eugene Meatyard 

This survey of Southern photography spans over 175 years to include a multitude of photographers and print media and explore both a regional and an aesthetic evolution. The photo exhibits run from September 15 through January 14 at the High Museum in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Alfredo Boulton: Looking at Venezuela, 1928–1978 

Luis Sánchez Olivares, El Diamante Negro, no. 2 (Luis Sánchez Olivares, The Black Diamond, no. 2), 1952. © Alfredo Boulton. Partial donation of the Alberto Vollmer Foundation. Getty Research Institute. 

Boulton wasn’t just influential as a groundbreaking photographer. He helped shape Venezuela’s art world in the 20th century as a critic and historian. This retrospective explores both his photographic work and his relationships with other artists and intellectuals. It runs through January 7 at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. 

Ara Güler: A Play of Light and Shadow 

The Golden Horn, Istanbul, © Ara Güler Museum, courtesy of Ara Güler. 

Known as “the Eye of Istanbul,” Ara Güler spent the latter half of the 20th century capturing Turkish life in black and white. He considered himself a visual historian, photographing everything from ordinary city dwellers to celebrated artists and politicians. You can see this retrospective of his photojournalism, along with some more experimental work, through November 8, at FOAM in Amsterdam. 

People Watching: Contemporary Photography Since 1965 

Demons, Tlazoteotl ‘Eater of Filth,’ p92 from Indigenous Woman, 2018, C-print mounted on Sintra, hand-painted artist frame by Martine Gutierrez. Museum Purchase, Greenacres Acquisition Fund. © Martine Gutierrez

What photographer doesn’t like people watching? This exhibit gives you a look at how about 50 image makers from around the world have represented people over the past 50+ years. It includes more than 120 images, exploring the act of observing others as a form of recreation, surveillance, harassment, empathy, and documentary. The show runs through November 5 at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick, Maine. 

Building Icons: Arnold Newman’s Magazine World, 1938–2000 

Georgia O’Keeffe,1968. © Arnold Newman Properties/Getty Images (2022)

One of the most renowned portraitists of the 20th century, Arnold Newman captured luminaries of all kinds for the magazines that helped build his career. Now you can see over 200 of his images in the form of fine art prints, including not just portraits but also abstract and documentary work that offers insight into the inspiration this hugely influential artist drew on. The exhibit runs from October 18 through January 21 at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. 

Best in Show 

Henry and Hope © Gerrard Gethings

Who’s a good boy? If you are, give yourself a treat and come to see this photographic menagerie. The show explores the roles and representations of pets of all kinds. It features the work of 25 photographers from around the world, mixing pet portraiture from OGs like Elliott Erwitt and William Wegman with intriguing takes on our furry and feathered friends by younger generations of image makers. The exhibit runs from September 22 through January at Fotografiska in New York. 

Art about Art: Contemporary Photographers Look at Old Master Paintings 

Dot Matrix, from the series Tech Vanitas, 2018. Collection of the artist. © Jeanette May

A diverse bunch of photographers borrowed from the old masters to create the images presented in this show. From self-portraits to still life images, they bring new insights, critiques, and humor to an artistic conversation that began in medieval Europe. The exhibit runs through November 5, 2023 at the Princeton University Art Museum in Princeton, New Jersey. 

As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic 

Re shapa setepe sa lenyalo II, 2013, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). © Lebohang Kganye

Featuring over 100 images by artists from the diaspora that spreads from Africa across Canada, the Caribbean, Great Britain, the United States, and South America, this exhibit explores the experiences of its people through lenses of community, identity, and power. You can see it through December 31 at Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. 

A World in Common: Contemporary African Photography 

Water Life Series, Star Shine, Moon Glow, 2018. © Aida Muluneh. Commissioned by WaterAid and supported by the H&M Foundation. 

A multigenerational group of 36 artists contributed to this photographic journey through the vast and varied African continent. The exhibit presents contemporary work, but it delves into historical themes too, along with new worlds of possibility and promise. It runs through January 14 at the Tate Modern in London. 

Fall Festival Photo Exhibits

You can still check out some festivals of photo exhibits before this year ends, too.  

Nigeria’s megacity will host the Lagos Photo Festival, opening October 27 and running through the end of the year.  

In France, Photo Paris runs from November 9 through 12 at the Grand Palais Éphémère. If you’re in range of Perpignan, you can still catch this year’s edition of the venerable Visa Pour l’Image festival before it closes on September 17.  

Back in the States, Photo Basel is teaming up with SCOPE for photo basel/miami x SCOPE, a photo and fine art show in Miami from December 5 through 10. 

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