By Way of These Eyes: The Hyland Collection of American Photography visits Bath

By Ben Miller | 24 July 2012
A photo of a man with a plain black tattoo covering most of his face and large ear tattoos
© Christopher Hyland
Exhibition: By Way of These Eyes: The Hyland Collection of American Photography, The American Museum in Britain, Bath, until October 28 2012

“In photography, I seek poetry, panache and beauty,” says Christopher Hyland, an enthusiastic devourer of bold shots whose artists include Robert Mapplethorpe, Edward Steichen and John Dugdale in a collection he believes epitomises “the robust and dynamic spirit of American optimism in the 20th century.”

“If a photograph resonates with you, it is truly something wonderful – a bit of the divine in the resulting emotions you experience as a viewer. By way of your eyes, your mind computes where the subject is placed in negative or positive space, the use of light and dark, and whether the resulting image speaks to the ages.”

An image of a black and white abstract photo of a female figure under rippling water
Brian Oglesbee, Water Series 74#14 (2001). Gelatin silver print© Brian Oglesbee
Nine of David Deal’s portraits of baseball, capturing the hopes of players and the stories of little-known teams, certainly manage that in a sporting sense.

Hyland himself has created Transformation, a series of seven images showing a man being covered in tattoos which he affords a quasi-spiritual quality to. And he’s commissioned one of the contributors, Bill Armstrong, to create a triptych portrait of the Queen as she moves from childhood to middle age and beyond.

“I am looking for something new – something remarkable, something transformational,” he surmises. “I can think of no better UK venue to showcase my collection than the American Museum in Britain, which was founded to deepen understanding of American art and culture in Europe – the birthplace of photography.”

  • Open 12pm-5pm (closed Monday, except Bank Holiday). Admission £4.50-£9 (family ticket £21.50-£24).
A monochrome photo of a figure on a single-wheeled contraption riding towards a lightning bolt
Robert and Shana Parke-Harrison, Edison's Light (1998). Photogravure© Robert & Shana Parke-Harrison

A black and white photo of two men standing side-by-side in what looks like a garage
Shelby Lee Adams, The Fly Swat (1992). Gelatin silver print© Shelby Lee Adams
A black and white photo of a pair of hands holding a miniature replica of skyscrapers
Thomas Barbèy, Urban Offering (2000-2001). Gelatin silver print© Thomas Barbèy
A black and white photo of a baseball team in white uniforms standing inside a stadium
David Deal, National Anthem – Butte, Montana (2000). Silver gelatin print© David Deal
A black and white photo close up of a baseball being held by a player's hands
David Deal, Ball in Hands – Springfield, Illinois (2000). Silver gelatin print© David Deal

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