‘Highlights and Shadows’ zooms in on new photography collection

Summer is winding down, but there’s still time to see “Highlights and Shadows: Books on Photography from the Reva and David Logan Foundation,” an exhibit that features about 200 of the Bancroft Library’s more than 2,000 books by American and European masters of photography.

The exhibit is up in the Bancroft Library Gallery, near the center of the UC Berkeley campus. It is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., through Sept. 8.

Robert Frank, The Americans cover

Among the books featured in the exhibit is Robert Frank’s influential “The Americans,” a book whose powerful, often stark photos from 1955 contrasted sharply with the cheery images gracing popular magazines of the era. (Photo courtesy of The Bancroft Library.)

The collection from which the exhibit is drawn features some of the most sought-after and significant books by leading American and European photographers from the 1850s to the 1990s. It also includes full runs of major photography periodicals, such as a pristine set of Alfred Stieglitz’s Camera Work, America’s most important art journal of the early 20th century.

In a story about the collection in the Bancroft publication Fiat Lux, now retired University Librarian Tom Leonard noted that the Logan family’s collection “shows how the camera changed the way we see the world in books. The Bancroft Library dates back to the earliest years of this new visual language in the 19th century and is proud to make the Logans’ rare volumes a showpiece today.”

The books are part of a gift from the Reva and David Logan Foundation to promote documentary photography and photojournalism at Bancroft and the Graduate School of Journalism. They bring Berkeley’s scholarly resources for the study of photojournalism, press photography and documentary photography to the national forefront.

Bancroft pictorial curator Jack von Euw, who assembled “Highlights and Shadows” with curatorial assistant Christine Hult-Lewis, said that no other institution, including the Library of Congress and the Getty Research Center, can match Berkeley for its breadth and depth of material for research into photojournalism and socially engaged photography.

The exhibit was recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle.