Picture Perfect exhibit focuses on photography

PLAINVIEW – A push to give exposure to some of the collected treasures stored in the basement of Mabee Regional Heritage Center has developed into a temporary exhibit that really clicks with visitors.

The focus of Picture Perfect: An Exhibition of Cameras is the history of photography — mechanically and artistically. While reorganizing the Llano Estacado Museum collection in the basement, Jordan Long, an intern at Mabee Regional Heritage Center completing a master’s degree in museum science, realized how many historic cameras are in the collection. A photographer since he was young, Long knew in a flash there was a need to shed light on the well-kept cameras. He shuttered at the thought of not exposing the world of film to a digital generation.

“I was going for a range of models and makes and the history of the cameras we have,” said Long.

The centerpiece of the exhibit is a large format wooden Graflex Master Studio Camera, but there are lots of other pieces to be viewed.

Long took his photocentric concept even farther by using a range of portraits and time-period photographs to create a wall display leading visitors to the exhibit. Look closely when visiting because you might find a few digitally enhanced photographic Easter eggs among the collected photos.

“It’s a nice showcase of the different things we have,” the intern said of the wall filled with photographs.

So far, there have been a lot of Kodak moments for visitors looking at Polaroid, Minolta, Brownie, ALPA, Pentax, Yashica and other brands of cameras that come into view as you walk through the exhibit. There are even some old Bell & Howell movie cameras as you move through.

Long got on a roll when he was looking for a finishing touch for the exhibit, which is his first curatorial project. He discovered that Director of Museums Kaylyn Bean has a collection of film canisters she procured while working at a camera store years ago.

Bean framed her comments about the exhibit around Long.

“He is interested in art and where that intersects with museums,” she said. “It is exciting for him to get to do his first show here. He went down in our basement and figured out what we had that was really interesting and had not seen the light of day for a while. He wanted to highlight the great jewels that we haven’t been able to show in a while.”


Bean pictures getting lots of positive responses from visitors before the exhibit closes in August. Viewing the exhibit through the lens of the content, the director joked that some negative comments are expected.