Light & Shadow: Capturing Early Santa Monica

Light & Shadow: Capturing Early Santa Monica
On Saturday, March 9th, we invite you to join us for our newest exhibition, Light & Shadow: Capturing Early Santa Monica. The Santa Monica Public Library and the Santa Monica History Museum have partnered to give viewers a peek into the extensive photographic archives of each institution. Each of our photographic archives houses a diverse selection of photographers and subjects that capture the rich history of the Santa Monica Bay area.
The joint exhibition will highlight seven local photographers whose imagery documents our city’s past. The Main Library will present work by Kenneth Strickfaden and Victor Barnaba. Best known as an electrical special-effects pioneer on films like Frankenstein (1931), Strickfaden as a young man photographed the natural beauty, piers and street scenes in the Santa Monica Bay Area. Barnaba’s illustrious career stretched decades, including his service as a military photographer during WWII. In Santa Monica, Barnaba built a studio photography business and was commissioned by the city to document the built environment, civic affairs, and notable figures, until his retirement in 1973.
The Santa Monica History Museum will present work by H.F. Rile, Adelbert Bartlett, Emerson Gaze, Bill Beebe, and George Tate, Jr. Rile was active in the 1880s through the 1910s and produced cabinet cards documenting everything from local businesses and school children to city events and views of Palisades Park. Bartlett, active in the 1920s, is known for his ethereal representations of daily life in Santa Monica. Emerson Gaze, active from the 1930s to the 1960s, and Bill Beebe, active from the 1940s through the 1990s, both worked for the Evening Outlook newspaper recording Santa Monica’s notables and happenings. George Tate,Jr., who was active in the 1950s and 1960s, had an excellent eye for composition and his images express the exuberant energy of Muscle Beach.

Thank you to our partner