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Preservation and Photography: Frances Benjamin Johnston

April 12, 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Chris Oliver, VMFA’s Assistant Curator of American Art, explores the important photography of Frances Benjamin Johnston’s survey of Virginia architecture in the early 20th-century. 

Preserved in the collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts are over 150 photographs of early Virginia architecture by Frances Benjamin Johnston. Between 1927 and 1936 Johnston toured the Old Dominion photographing colonial and early Federal era plantations, shops, gardens, and cabins, all in varying states of preservation. Johnston’s work, which preceded similar efforts including the Historic American Building Survey, is both a testament to her interest in historic architecture as well as her capability as a fine arts photographer—imbuing many of these images with the pictorial themes of the passage of time, loss, and romanticism. This talk will explore Johnston’s late career legacy as an architectural photographer straddling documentation and pictorialism. 



April 12, 2018
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Wilton House Museum
215 South Wilton Road
Richmond, VA 23226 United States
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(804) 282-5936