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Five Minutes With . . . Brett Abbott
The High’s new photo curator
How has your background informed your approach to photography? My father was an amateur photographer, and when I grew up, he had a darkroom in the house. He used to make portraits of the kids and go on trips and take lots of pictures.
Where should the High’s collection grow? It’s probably a good idea to build on its strength in American twentieth-century photography. And within that, there is a strong documentary impulse.
What one image would you pick to show future generations all that is transformative about photography? Something by William Henry Fox Talbot, who was one of the earliest practitioners and inventors of photography. His revolutionary work to capture traces of the natural world on light-sensitized paper has profoundly impacted our world.
What are you into, outside of photography? I love hiking and have made trips to the Eastern Sierras in California almost every year. Also, despite my career as a photography historian, I have a soft spot for the art and architecture of the Italian Renaissance.