Do you believe in ghosts? How about ghosts you can actually see, in 150 year old photographs?
Photography historian Bill Becker explores the bizarre story of spirit photography in this webinar, tracing the origins of the modern spiritualist movement during the daguerreotype period and the first explosion of spirit photography after the US Civil War. You’ll get a revealing first-person look into the making of the most famous ghost photograph — and learn the gigantic mistake that accidentally exposed the truth about that important image.
Bill Becker has collected and researched early photography for more than 50 years. An original member of The Daguerreian Society, he currently serves the Society as a board member and board secretary. American portrait photographs from Becker's collection were exhibited at the home of Daguerre in Bry-sur-Marne (2013) and at the MIT Museum (2014-2015), accompanied by the book "Daguerre’s American Legacy." Other exhibitions drawn from his collection were shown at the Krannert Art Museum (University of Illinois), the Meadow Brook Art Gallery of Oakland University, the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Henry Ford Museum (in conjunction with the Walle Collection) and the South East Museum of Photography.
Spirit photographs from Becker's collection have also been included in exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Albertina Museum, Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall, and the Maison Europeenne de la Photographie. He has spoken on the topic of spirit photography to groups as varied as the Victorian Society in America and the Los Angeles Conference on the History of Magic.
Becker is director of the American Museum of Photography, an online-only museum (www.photographymuseum.com ); his next book, a monograph on the photographer Edwin Hale Lincoln, is scheduled for publication by Steidl later this year.
Presented on August 8, 2020.