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The Rochester International Salons of Photography

Just months after Kodak’s first nationwide picture contest, the first exhibition of the Rochester International Salon of Photography was held at the Memorial Art Gallery, December 5, 1929-January 5, 1930. Unlike the Kodak Salon, the Rochester International accepted photographs made using all types of cameras.

Victor Rayment of the Kodak Office called an organizational meeting at the Gallery’s Library on May 16, 1929 that included Glenn E. Matthews, E. P. Wightman, Gertrude Herdle, Helen Williams, Alexander Leventon and other area photographers.

In a draft letter in the Gallery’s archives he wrote:

“It has been felt by many contributors to the Rochester Salon of Photographic Art that the interests of Pictorial Photography would be better served if a salon, international in character, were held in preference to the present exhibition which is limited to local entries.

“Such a salon would bring the best in artistic photography to Rochester, would be an incentive and inspiration to local workers; also the public of the city would become better acquainted with photography as a medium of artistic expression.”

In the foreword to the 1929 exhibition catalogue, the organizers stated their hopes that “Rochester as a city should appear before the world with a tender of welcome to the highest artistic expressions of the photographic science with which the city is identified,” an early expression of Rochester as the “Image Capital of the World.”

Jurors of the 1st Salon, shown here judging in the Gallery’s library. Shown: F.R. Fraprie, J.H. Mackay & William A. Alcock, photo by Stone from 12/1/1929 Democrat & Chronicle.

The International Salons continued at MAG until 1982.

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