Dueling Timothy O’Sullivans

There have been two Timothy O’Sullivan exhibits and books out in the past two years, which is odd. O’Sullivan is a photographer who is known mostly by large format aficionados as well as those interested in the history of photography.


Framing the West: The Survey Photographs of Timothy H. O’Sullivan came out last year to accompany an exhibit at the Smithsonian. One of the authors, Toby Jurovics, who is a curator at the museum, narrates the video I’ve included below.


The other book was just released today, according to Amazon, and my copy is on the way (though my wife might well make it a Christmas as present).  This one, Timothy H. O’Sullivan: The King Survey Photographs is from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri. The exhibit will be going up next April (apparently in the same gallery as the currently on-view Brett Weston exhibit). That’s unfortunate since I may be passing by Missouri on my way to visit family in Ohio next month and it would have been great to see the show. Then again, I’m thinking about doing that same trip again next June–plenty of time before the show closes in August of 2012. (The show just opened at the Chicago Institute of Art and will be there until January, for those of you living nearby or going that far north this winter.)

I’m curious about the difference between the books since they seem to cover much the same ground. The book’s titles echo each other, both have a cover image of a waterfall (unusual in O’Sullivan’s work, I think), and both have sort of the same cover layout and color. It will be easy to get these confused.

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