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Photo by Mark Gjukich

Take Your Pick: Collecting Found Photographs

Curator: Jennifer Friess, Assistant Curator of Photography
September 21, 2019 - February 23, 2020


Take Your Pick invites you—the Museum’s visitors—to have an important voice in selecting photographs for our permanent collection. Who and what should be represented, and how should we decide?

When originally opened in Fall 2019, this exhibition considered these questions in regard to 1,000 amateur photographs on loan from the private collection of Peter J. Cohen, who has gathered more than 60,000 snapshots while exploring flea markets in the United States and Europe over two decades. The images he has collected depict all aspects of daily life and reveal the dynamic histories of amateur photography.

Such pictures have particular significance in the current digital age, when it is much less common to make physical copies of personal photographs. They constitute important artifacts of twentieth-century visual culture and precedents for the photographs we still make today.

Explore Take Your Pick and learn more about the history of snapshot photography.

Vote for your favorite pictures: Saturday, September 21, 2019 – Sunday, January 12, 2020
Final selections on view: Tuesday, January 14 – Sunday, February 23, 2020


Support for Take Your Pick is provided by Cecilia and Mark Vonderheide and the University of Michigan Office of the Provost and Department of Film, Television, and Media.

UMMA Digital Initiatives are supported by the Sandra and Louis Grotta Fund.