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International Photography Hall of Fame moves to St. Louis

The International Photography Hall of Fame is moving to St. Louis.

The organization will bring with it thousands of historical cameras and images.

Those include iconic photographs like Alfred Eisenstaedt’s “V-J Day in Times Square," Ansel Adams’ “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico,” and Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother" - all of which you can see above.

John Nagel is the board president of the International Photography Hall of Fame and a photographic artist who lives in Hermann, Mo.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Maria Altman spoke with Nagel about the Hall of Fame’s history and the move.


Nagel: It started out in southern California in 1965 and then in 1985 we moved to Oklahoma City. More recently we were in a large museum that was a collection of museums called the Science Museum Oklahoma. The thrust of that museum became more technical, more space-oriented and it was apparent that photography was not as good of a fit as it once was. So about five or six years we started looking for alternative locations.

Altman:  You looked at a lot of different cities, so what brought St. Louis to the top?

Nagel:  St. Louis has a phenomenally accepting community of artists and art appreciators. It really is a cultural gold mine, and the stars aligned in a good way for us. We were able to find a location in the Grand Center area with the Sheldon and the Contemporary and the Pulitzer and all of the other venues. It was a good fit for us.

Altman:  The Hall of Fame inducts photographers and innovators and also has thousands and thousands of images, and I’m wondering what do you do with all those images?

Nagel:  Our main objective is to educate about the history of photography. For that purpose we use the images in display opportunities where we’ll have historical displays. We also love contemporary work, so we’ll have contemporary photography displays as well. The other aspect of it is the camera museum, which is a vast section of our collections as well.

Altman:  Do you expect to have photographers come and speak?

Nagel:  Absolutely, we’re looking forward to guest speakers, to partnering with organizations like Canon that fund speakers. And the interesting thing about St. Louis is that there are more than a dozen universities in the metropolitan region that have accredited courses in photography. We have a collectors group connected with the St. Louis Art Museum, and of course the St. Louis Art Museum itself has collected and displayed photography. So we’re hoping our organization can become a nexus and connect a lot of the opportunities together.

Altman: When do you hope to make the move?

Nagel: We’re ready to embark on a fundraising campaign and we’re hoping we’ll be able to open in the first quarter of 2013.

Altman: Not that far away.

Nagel: No, it’s kind of scary (laughs).

Maria is the newscast, business and education editor for St. Louis Public Radio.