About: Frances Terpak

I'm a curator at the Getty Research Institute. My areas of focus include early modern optical devices, and 19th-century photography in China, Algeria, Persia, and the Ottoman empire.

Posts by Frances

Posted in Getty Research Institute, J. Paul Getty Museum, Photographs, Film, and Video

Remembering Lewis Baltz

Lewis Baltz, Paris, 1992
Lewis Baltz standing in front of his installation, Ronde de Nuit, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 1992

The influential photographer, writer, and teacher has passed. More»

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Posted in Getty Research Institute, Photographs, Film, and Video

1850s Tehran Revealed in Rare Photographic Album

Tehran, Entrance to Golestan Palace / Luigi Pesce
Tehran, Entrance to Golestān Palace, 1850s, Luigi Pesce. Albumen print in Album fotografico della Persia, 7 1/2 x 9 5/16 in. The Getty Research Institute, 2012.R.18, no. 2

“The album narrates multiple stories that together provide new insights into the rich history of Persia.” More»

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      #ThyCaptionBe: You Look Like Hell

      You captioned this detail. And we’re revealing the full story now.

      Escaping the in-laws or medieval Sea World? It’s actually an extreme punishment for a dress code violation. 

      Here’s the full story:

      The Christian tale of Saint Josaphat is roughly based on the life of the Buddha in a kind of medieval game of telephone, in which the sources for the text passed through Christian circles in the Middle East in the 8th century before appearing in European versions in the 11th century. 

      Here an unsuitably dressed guest—we can see that his tattered clothing and scruffy facial hair have no place at the well-dressed gathering—is cast into the dark, open mouth of a terrifying animal. 

      To make matters worse, the story is a parable in which Barlaam, Josaphat’s Christian teacher, describes the sinful who do not make the cut at the Last Judgment.

      Holiday Lesson: Always check the dress code.

      #ThyCaptionBe is a celebration of modern interpretations of medieval aesthetics. You guess what the heck is going on, then we myth-bust.


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