‘Capturing the Moment’: A New Photography & Film Exhibition at SAMA

February 21, 2019 at 1:58pm

The 20th century brought about rapid advancements in societies around the globe at a rate that arguably rivaled any previous millennia in recorded history. Some of these advancements brought about exciting technological marvels such as the application of electricity, indoor plumbing, transportation, computers, mass production, the use of steel in high-rise building construction, photography, motion pictures, and the list goes on. In juxtaposition with this time in history, other societal altering events took place that had a lasting ripple effect throughout the generations such as World War I and II, the Great Depression, and the Civil Rights Movement. Meanwhile, advancements being made in the fields of photography and film allowed users to capture imagery of these events and share them with the world.

Photo by Arthur Rothstein (American, 1915-1985) Dust Storm, Cimarron County, Oklahoma,1936

The latest exhibition at the San Antonio Museum of Art, slated to open on February 22, 2019, is entitled, Capturing the Moment: Photographs from the Marie Brenner & Ernest Pomerantz Collection. Curators for the exhibition are Suzanne Weaver, the Museum’s Brown Foundation Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, with support from Assistant Curator Lana Meador.  The team pared down the collection to bring about an excellent sampling of some of the world’s most notable photographers, allowing us to see the view through their lenses from the 1920’s through the 1970’s.

'Capturing the Moment' Curator Suzanne Weaver (right), and Assistant Curator Lana Meador (left)

As stated in a press release on the exhibition by San Antonio Museum of Art:

Capturing the Moment features more than 70 primarily black and white photographs drawn from the Brenner and Pomerantz gift, as well as a selection of films. The exhibition is divided into three sections: People; War and Conflict; and Landscapes, both rural and urban. Within each area, the show explores the development and application of different styles and approaches — from documentary photography and photojournalism to street photography — and highlights the technological advances, socio-political upheavals, and cultural influences that spurred the era’s artistic innovation.

Among the artists whose work is included in the exhibition are Dmitri Baltermants, Ilse Bing, Paul Caponigro, Henri Cartier-Bresson, W.E. Dassonville, Mike Disfarmer, Leonard Freed, Danny Lyon, Joel Meyerowitz, Arthur Rothstein, Stephen Shore, and Louis Clyde Stoumen. The work of many of these photographers was informed by changes in camera technology, such as the introduction in 1924 of the lightweight Leica 35mm camera. These very portable cameras made it possible for photographers to enter any landscape and document events — capturing what the photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson termed the ‘decisive moment,’ that split second that reveals a subject’s larger truth.”

Dmitri Baltermants (Russian, 1912-1990) Bayonet Attack, November 1941, printed 2003

The films that will be featured throughout the exhibition are presented by the artists Henri Cartier-Bresson, Henry Horenstein, Danny Lyon, Leonard Freed, and Anri Sala.

Corresponding Exhibition Events

Louis Clyde Stoumen (American, 1917-1991) Hell Night, Times Square, ca. 1979

Several lectures and events will accompany this exhibition while it takes place from February 22, 2019 - May 12, 2019.  Their event schedule is as follows:


Photo by Ilse Bing
Ilse Bing (German, 1899-1998) Self-portrait, Paris, 1931, printed later

Capturing a Moment: True or False? with Anne Wilkes Tucker

Saturday, February 23 | 2:00–3:00 p.m.

Free with admission | Seating is limited. | Doors open at 1:30 p.m.

Join Anne Wilkes Tucker, Curator Emerita of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, for a lecture that delves into the complexities of reading photographs and the story unfolding in front of the lens.


Family Day: See + Do: Picture This!

Sunday, March 3 | 12:00–3:00 p.m.

Free with Museum admission

Picture your world through a wide variety of media: painting, drawing, and risograph prints. Get creative in our selfie station and learn about the many cultures represented in the Museum.


Educator Workshop: Picture That: Social Commentary Through Photography

Saturday, March 23 | 9:30 – 3:30 p.m. $20 members | $35 non-members


Photojournalism, documentary, and street photography played an important role in the critical examination of historical events and lifestyles of the twentieth century. See how photography from Capturing the Moment reveals influential moments in history while inspiring social change and reflection. The workshop includes hands-on studio activities that integrate technology with social studies and language arts. Please bring your camera phones, ipads, or digital cameras and a sack lunch.


Point, Shoot, and Print Workshop with David Salinas

Saturday, March 30 and Sunday, March 31 | 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

$75 members | $85 non-members

Join local photographer David Salinas in a two-part workshop exploring the process of shooting and printing black-and-white 35 millimeter film. On day one, participants will walk around and near SAMA's campus learning successful shooting techniques with simple point-and-shoot film cameras. After developing the film, the participants will return on Sunday to create postcard prints using traditional darkroom techniques. Supplies are included.


Photo by Mike Disfarmer
Mike Disfarmer (American, 1884-1959) Untitled (Standing Couple), ca. 1940

Artist Talk: Henry Horenstein

Tuesday, April 9 | 6:30–7:30 p.m.

Free with admission | Seating is limited. | Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

Artist Henry Horenstein, whose photographs and videos are on view in Capturing the Moment, will give an intimate talk on his work and process.


Poets & Photographers Looking at Photographs

Tuesday, April 30 | 6:30–8:00 p.m.


Organized by poet and educator Jim LaVilla-Havelin, pairs of poets and photographers from San Antonio will present readings and responses to selections from the exhibition Capturing the Moment.


Lecture: John Rohrbach

Friday, May 10 | 6:30–7:30 p.m.

Free with admission | Seating is limited. | Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

Join John Rohrbach, Senior Curator of Photographs at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, for a deeper look into the exhibition before it closes.

Photo by Paul Caponigro
Paul Caponigro (American,born 1932) Aspen, Colorado, 1970

This collection of photographs (among others) are a part of SAMA’s permanent collection. You have until May 12, 2019 to view this impressive exhibition. After that, these works will only be shown in focus exhibitions and integrated into reinstallations of contemporary art throughout the museum.