Call for images: Above and Under the Surface ONLINE exhibition


The imprints of memory on a photographic surface leave marks, stains, little spots, vestiges, and information that produce meaning for the owner of the photographic object. They also leave a path for conservators to find out more about these objects, their provenance, the time that these images were produced, and the materials used to produce them. As a photo conservator, Rosina Herrera considers that “old photographs tell you everything about themselves and, sometimes, your own history”.


Instruments of Memory (IoM) is excited to announce our first open call for archival and family photographs to be exhibited in an online exhibition called Above and Under the Surface in the fall 2021. Photo collectors, photo lovers, and the general public are invited to submit digital images of their photographic objects that memorialize or help trace the history of the image, a moment worth remembering, or a historical occasion for our Online Exhibition & Catalog juried by the Rijksmuseum Photo Conservator, Rosina Herrera and Art Historian, Claudia Pretelin. 


Selected participants will have their images included in the online exhibition, on social media, and in a catalog. Accepted participants will receive a catalog of the exhibition to be released in 2022. The catalog will be available for sale to support Instruments of Memory!


Applications Open: May 15, 2021

Applications Close: September 15, 2021

Online Exhibition Dates: October 15, 2021 -January 15, 2022


  • Photographers, photo collectors, photo lovers, and the general public from around the world can participate. 
  • We are looking for eligible images of photographic objects or prints produced from the 1840s to present time (including daguerreotypes, photogenic drawing, salted paper print and calotype negative, cyanotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, albumen silver prints, platinum prints, bromoil transfer prints, woodbury types, gelatin silver prints, chromogenic development prints, silver bleach dye prints and others) with meaningful messages and artifacts on the back.


  • Notes of love and other messages (e.g. inscriptions, autographs, dedications, drawings, etc.)
  • Hidden stories and meanings (e.g. traces of tax stamps on the photograph, stickers, etc.)
  • Conservation nightmares (e.g. deterioration on the print or photographic object, tape, insects, stains…)
  • Others 

How to Apply

Your submission for consideration should include:

1. Applicant’s contact details.

2. One to three digital images of the front and back of your photographic object(s) or print(s). Digital files specs: JPG files 150 dpi — 5MB max; cleared for exhibition and public usage including social media channels. 

3. Provide citation information including: authorship, title, approximate date, dimensions, and image provenance. 

4. A short description (200 words max) about why you consider this image and its message meaningful to be included in this exhibition.

All submissions should be provided digitally no later than 11:59pm (Your local time) on Monday September 15, 2021 via this form at https://form.jotform.com/211076686963163



Deadline: 15/09/2021 12:00 am (Timezone: Etc/GMT+12)

Artist in Residence, Exhibition Opportunity, Opportunities
Apply until 30/11/2021