The Same But Different celebrated the Harn’s growing photography collection. It highlighted over 90 photographs by 58 photographers arranged in 13 themes. The photographs in each theme shared a visual or conceptual component that was then interpreted through the unique sensibilities of each artist. Like a good short story, the images acted like words in a sentence that built an immersive experience of the shared subject. For instance, in the section titled Belief, Jerry Uelsmann’s composite photograph of a personal spiritual journey was exhibited alongside Sebastião Salgado’s photograph of Muslims at prayer and Miguel Gandert’s Christian pilgrim in New Mexico, among others. Each was a manifestation of faith, or the attempt to find it through various means. In a few instances, a thematic group was left unnamed for the viewer to consider what it might be, with quotes from noted authors nearby that acted as prompts.
The Same But Different was also an excavation of the Harn’s photography collection across a broad spectrum of subjects and styles, and integrated familiar photographers with lesser known ones. Exhibiting the latter alongside artists from the “official canon” expanded the medium’s diverse material past, and its service to art, documentation and journalism. By rediscovering works in the collection by under-recognized artists, a larger conversation emerged reflecting the archive’s history, strengths and future possibilities.