John Bulmer (British, born 1938), Black Country 011, Divided Street, 1961. Gelatin Silver Print, image: 11 x 16 inches. Collection of Lois and Dr. Barry Ramer © John Bulmer

EXHIBITION TITLE (FULL): The Roaming Eye: International Street Photography from the Ramer Collection
VENUE: Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California
DATES: February 17 – May 12, 2019

(Sacramento, CA – February 15, 2019) On Sunday, February 17, the Crocker Art Museum is will open “The Roaming Eye," an exhibition of more than 70 notable works in street photography by more than three dozen photographers from around the world.

All of the candid images in this exhibition are drawn from the private collection of Lois and Dr. Barry Ramer, a Northern California couple who has been collecting art for more than 50 years.

Thomas Annan (Scottish, 1829–1887), Close No. 193, High Street, 1899. Photogravure, image: 8 3/4 x 7 inches. Collection of Lois and Dr. Barry Ramer

Street photography came into existence nearly two centuries ago, alongside the invention of some of the earliest cameras. Since then, the genre has evolved in style, scope, and technique due largely to technological advancements, most notably the portable 35mm camera and, today, the ubiquitous smartphone.

Despite its name, street photography does not necessitate the street as a backdrop or people as the subject. Closely related to documentary photography, the genre encompasses a spectrum of compelling images — usually taken in public spaces — that reveal something about the subject or stir emotion in the viewer.

Artists, subjects, and locations featured in "The Roaming Eye" represent countries around the world including sites in Africa, Asia, Eurasia, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas. More than a century of photography is covered, with prints ranging from early, long-exposure photogravures of Scottish streets by Thomas Annan (Scottish, 1829–1887) to spontaneous and sometimes decadent images from the series "The Chinese" by Liu Zheng (Chinese, born 1969).

Liu Zheng (Chinese, born 1969), Nightclub Dancers, Beijing, printed 2006. Gelatin silver print, image: 14 3/4 x 14 3/4 inches. Collection of Lois and Dr. Barry Ramer © Liu Zheng

The Ramer collection boasts benchmark images in which the street is as much a character as its inhabitants. For example, John Bulmer’s (British, born 1938) "Black Country 011, Divided Street "(cover image) features a man in an historic industrial area in the West Midlands region of England. Seen from behind as he considers the depths of a fork in the road — its forced perspective and high horizon line forming an unsettling distortion — the man appears to be at a metaphorical crossroads as much as he is at a literal one.

While the exhibition primarily includes black-and-white photography, there are also works in color, including "Elisabeth, Sunset Boulevard and North Poinsettia" by French photographer Lise Sarfati. The image captures a brooding young woman with a cigarette leaning against the exterior wall of a smoke shop. A Zippo lighter stand and colorful glass water pipes are visible through the shop window, which is partially obscured by a retractable security gate.

Lise Sarfati, Elisabeth, Sunset Boulevard and North Poinsettia, 2010. C-print, image: 15 3/4 x 23 1/4 inches. Collection of Lois and Dr. Barry Ramer © Lise Sarfati

In addition to the street, public places like the beach, parks, concerts, markets, and public transportation are common settings for these photographs. People are typically — but not always — a main subject, and they often appear in candid, unposed shots, many of which capture figures in motion, forever freezing an instant in time. In some images, semi- or seemingly posed shots, such as those by Shelby Lee Adams, Dorothea Lange, Ken Light and Simon Roberts, capture chance encounters. In others, like Aubrey Bodine’s (American, 1906–1970) "Faded Glory, Baltimore" people’s faces may be obscured or cropped out. In such cases, personality may be expressed via body language, or meaning expressed through omission.

This exhibition is organized by the Crocker Art Museum, and is sponsored by Murphy Austin Adams Schoenfeld LLP.

High-resolution images of several works in this exhibition and an exhibition checklist are available to members of the media upon request.

Karen Christian
(916) 808-1867


The Collector's Lens: Dr. Barry Ramer in Conversation
March 17

Film Screening: "Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning"
March 21

Stories in Faces: Creative Writing Inspired by Street Photography
March 21

Teacher Workshop: Photography
April 6

Classical Concert: Jason Sia, Piano
March 21

For more information on these and other events and programs, click HERE.

Through engaging, innovative, and life-changing interactions with art, the Crocker Art Museum provides meaningful opportunities for people of divergent backgrounds to find common ground. Founded as a public/private partnership in 1885, the Crocker features the world’s foremost display of California art and is renowned for its holdings of master drawings and international ceramics, as well as European, Asian, African, and Oceanic art. The Crocker serves as the primary regional resource for the study and appreciation of fine art and offers a diverse spectrum of exhibitions, events, and programs to deepen visitor’s understanding of art, including films, concerts, studio classes, lectures, and an array of activities for families and children. More information about exhibits and programs can be found at