Interior Life: Photography’s Place on and off the Wall in the Late 19th
and Early 20th Centuries
Using images from her expansive collection of interior photographs, Waters will explore how people displayed images in their homes and dorm rooms between 1880 and 1920. Drawing from contemporary periodicals, she will bring attention to the sometimes heated discussions about the “proper” ways to decorate with snapshots, family photographs, stock photography, and ephemera. She will touch on ideas of personality expressed through interior design evident within both the “cozy corner” fad and the “room collage.” Both design trends relied heavily on photographs as fodder for decoration and were well documented in subsequent photographs by their creators. The ephemeral nature of these interiors leaves us only these resulting photographs as evidence that these amazingly personal interiors existed.
Erin Waters has a degree in Russian Studies from Hamilton College. She was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Russia for 2002-2003 where she undertook an oral history and photographic project interviewing Russian babushki. She began collecting photos at an early age thanks to her dad’s interests in daguerreotypes. Her collection focusses on Russian images, interiors, hand colored photographs, real photo postcards, snapshots, and whatever else catches her eye. She and her brother share an interest in copy images of daguerreotypes, a subject she has researched, published, and spoken about. After completing her Masters in Museum Studies at NYU, in 2007, Waters became a full-time photography dealer. Pertaining to this seminar, she has been researching interiors and photographs since 2010, and has given talks over the years at photographic conferences (the last being in 2015 in Lincoln, England). As her collection grows every year, so does her thinking on this subject evolve, and she looks forward to sharing both with you.