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2011 Past Exhibits

Sirlin Studios Collection: A Community Portrait

Exhibition: Photographs; Advertisements
Location: CSH Reading Room
Exhibition Dates: October 1, 2011 – July 31, 2012

Sirlin-StaffTheodore “Ted” Sirlin, a 23-year old military-trained photographer, opened Sirlin Studios in 1946 in downtown Sacramento. His goal was to “capture and reflect the beauty, strength, and sensitivity of the subjects he photographed.” With cameras and various photographic tools, Sirlin Studios documented it all: school groups, sports teams, local families and weddings, as well as official portraits of city, county, and state representatives. Sirlin and his team of assistants truly captured life in Sacramento. In 2009, Ted Sirlin passed away. A year later his family donated his work to the Center for Sacramento History. The images from the Sirlin Collection are more than mere documents – they create a collective portrait of our community.

This exhibition is presented by the Center for Sacramento History; curated by Rebecca Crowther.


Commercial Photographers of the Sacramento Valley: 1900 – 1945

Location: Center for Sacramento History Reading Room
Exhibition Dates: February 1, 2011 – September 30, 2011

Commercial Photographers of the Sacramento ValleyThis exhibition represents applications of commercial photographers in the Sacramento region during the first half of the twentieth century. The artistic expression of Sackrider’s Studio, Merritt Nickerson, McCurry Foto Co., Clara Sheldon Smith, David Joslyn, and Gladding, McBean & Co. embody the distinctive characteristics of commercial photography of the period and provide a visual history of the Sacramento Valley.

Commercial photographers shot images for a specific purpose or job request – whether it was a portrait, product advertisement, or a special event. Businesses, special interest groups, individuals, and government used photography for these purposes. Whether for art or commerce, photographers employed the medium to convey meaning without the use of words. McCurry Foto Co. expressed this concept clearly with their company motto of the 1930s: “Did you ever use a photograph instead of a thousand words?”

This exhibition is presented by the Center for Sacramento History; curated by Lisa C. Prince and Rebecca Crowther.