Still from The Invisible Photograph, Part I: Underground

Hillman Photography Initiative Launches

Let’s talk about photography.

It pervades our world. Every day, millions of images are created, appropriated, and erased from existence. The Hillman Photography Initiative, an incubator for innovative thinking about the photographic image, launches today, with a suite of projects, all revolving around the lifecycle of images. Join the conversation at

Four projects consider the lifecycle of images

The Invisible Photograph

Still from The Invisible Photograph, Part I  Underground Featuring the Corbis Image Archive © Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh

Still from The Invisible Photograph, Part I: Underground; Featuring the Corbis Image Archive; © Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh

The Invisible Photograph, a five-part documentary series, investigates the expansive realm of photographic production, distribution, and consumption by way of the hidden side of photography, whether guarded, stashed away, barely recognizable, or simply forgotten. Part I, live today, visits the Corbis Image Archive at Iron Mountain in Butler, PA, which contains millions of photographs, 220 feet underground, stored under refrigeration and kept under extremely tight security. On May 10, Part II premieres at CMOA, looking at the high- and low-tech hacks that retrieved Andy Warhol’s Amiga computer experiments from obsolete disks. Each part of the documentary series will be posted to the web after its premiere at the museum. Visit for the schedule.

This Picture
With millions of images produced and shared every day, what is the value of a single image? What can it do, and how does it travel? This Picture explores the breadth of what photographic images can say and do by tracking the responses and feedback a single image can trigger and generate. Each month, the museum invites the public to submit responses to a carefully selected photograph. Responses take many forms and generate a constellation of conversations. Writing by select experts in art, technology, and social sciences wrap up the responses to each month’s image.

The Sandbox: At Play with the Photobook

Ed Panar of Spaces Corners Bookstore

Ed Panar, co-owner, with Melissa Catanese, of Spaces Corners Bookstore

The photobook is a thriving medium for encountering a group of images, and the preferred presentation of many photographers. It is growing, despite the digital dissemination of images. Photographers and owners of Spaces Corners bookstore, Melissa Catanese and Ed Panar, will set up and staff a pop-up reading room and event space at the museum May 3–July 28. With a themed, rotating selection of books, and related events, The Sandbox investigates the many ways that photobooks present and display images for interpretation. Visit for the schedule.

Pittsburghers live around the world. The yearlong A People’s History of Pittsburgh project, also led by Catanese and Panar, reaches into family albums and shoeboxes, compiling photographs and stories from the city’s residents to create a narrative online archive.

Hit and Run, Oakland, 2000 Photo: Ralph Swank

Hit and Run, Oakland, 2000; Submitted by Ralph Swank to the Hillman Photography Initiative, Carnegie Museum of Art

Through online submissions and scanning days, these histories take shape on an interactive website. Catanese and Panar will conclude the project by editing and co-publishing a print photobook with CMOA, which will function as a collective photo album for the people of the city and its surrounding area.

Orphaned Images
“Orphaned images” are increasingly common. They are itinerant images that have been posted online, shared, manipulated, circulated, and corrupted. Through this displacement, and widespread digital dissemination, they find new lives in unexpected places. They have been removed from their original authors or creators, reused, and appropriated. The Orphaned Images project includes written and artist commissions around the pressing issues raised by these conditions, and investigates how photographs produce and take on meaning, both online and offline, in the world outside the artist’s studio. Launching in the fall of 2014, Orphaned Images expands upon discussions about appropriation, distribution, transmission, and surveillance, and considers new forms of photographic materiality, value, and agency.

To participate in the projects, watch videos, browse the Initiative’s robust schedule of events, and follow the discussions, visit


The Hillman Photography Initiative’s first cycle of projects charts an ambitious course for one of the most forward-thinking photography programs at any museum. To learn more, please read our recent press release.

Photography from every angle in 2014. With six exhibitions exploring photography, and the new Hillman Photography Initiative, immerse yourself in the hundreds of ways that images move us.


Support for the Hillman Photography Initiative was provided by the William T. Hillman Foundation, and the Henry L. Hillman Foundation.

General operating support for Carnegie Museum of Art is provided by The Heinz Endowments and Allegheny Regional Asset District. Carnegie Museum of Art receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Carnegie Museum of Art
Located at 4400 Forbes Avenue in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Art was founded by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1895. One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, it is nationally and internationally recognized for its distinguished collection of American and European painting, sculpture, and decorative arts from the 19th century to the present. Founded in 1896, the Carnegie International is one of the oldest surveys of contemporary art worldwide. The Heinz Architectural Center, part of Carnegie Museum of Art, is dedicated to enhancing understand of the built environment through its exhibitions, collections, and public programs. The Hillman Photography Initiative serves as an incubator for innovative thinking about the photographic image. For more information about Carnegie Museum of Art, call 412.622.3131 or visit our website at

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