Real to Real: Photographs from the Traina Collection

By Kevin Moore and Julian Cox

Contemporary photographs are tricky concoctions… Particularly today, in an ultramediated culture of tepid Facebook friendships and corporate propaganda and political spin and industrially manufactured foods, the desire to cut through the layers separating us from the real is more urgent than ever… Photography has no claim on the real and never did, except insofar as we insist, obstinately, that we see our version of the real in it. Photographs are imprints of the once-was, as malleable and symbolic as our own changing perceptions, dreams, and anxieties. — Kevin Moore

Juxtaposing rare vintage prints by Diane Arbus, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, and Lee Friedlander with luscious color photographs by William Eggleston, Andreas Gursky, and Stephen Shore, this dynamic collection presents groundbreaking work by some of the preeminent artists of the past century. Celebrating photography’s fundamental fluidity and diversity, authors Kevin Moore and Julian Cox explore the preoccupation with everyday “reality,” excess, spectacle, and loss in pictures by Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Roe Ethridge, Mike Kelley, Cindy Sherman, Alec Soth, Jeff Wall, and many others.


Kevin Moore, an independent scholar and curator, has served as an advisor to Trevor Traina in the shaping of his photography collection. Moore earned a doctorate in art history from Princeton University and has worked in curatorial departments at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and Harvard University’s Fogg Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts. His publications include Jacques Henri Lartigue: The Invention of an Artist (2004); Starburst: Color Photography in America 1970–1980 (2010); and, with Michael Lorenzini, New York Rises: Photographs by Eugene de Salignac (2007). He contributed to The Oxford Companion to the Photograph (2005); American Paintings at Harvard, vol. 2 (2008); More than One: Photographs in Sequence (2008); Words without Pictures (2010); and From Diversion to Subversion: Games, Play, and Twentieth-Century Art (2011).

Julian Cox is the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s founding curator of photography and chief curator at the de Young Museum. His prior curatorial appointments include positions at the National Museum of Photography, Film, and Television (now the National Media Museum), Bradford, England; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. He coauthored, with Colin Ford, the critically acclaimed publication Julia Margaret Cameron: The Complete Photographs (2003), the first catalogue raisonné of Cameron’s work. Other notable publications include Harry Callahan: Eleanor (2007); Road to Freedom: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1956–1968 (2008); and The Portrait Unbound: Photographs by Robert Weingarten (2010).

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