The SVA Pictures Collection's folder People - Crowds & Spectators holds a massive array of images of people looking, and almost no images of what they might be looking at. The folder offers a view of spectatorship from the position of the object of sight; instead of taking up our usual perspective as audience members, the images provide a glimpse into the POV of the spectacle itself. The folder contains tens of images of masses of people - united for a vast variety of reasons. A crowd observes a theatrical performance from the seats of an elegant playhouse. Another waits for a ship, perhaps filled with loved ones, to dock. Another gathers for an inauguration. Another crowd, seen from above, comes together for what appears to be a Santa Claus convention. Still another reacts en masse to a sports game. The Crowds & Spectators folder offers insight into a range of - to appropriate art critic John Berger’s phrase - ways of seeing.

A crowd gathers on bleachers.
A mass of soldiers.
A view from above of several tables of men dressed as Santa Claus.
"A Sleighful of Santas, Surveyed" National Geographic December 2016
An excited crowd, some waving, some holding yellow flowers.
A mosh pit at a concert.
Realites Magazine May 1969
A crowd watches a sports game excitedly.
A large group gathers on a dock to watch a large ship dock.
View of a packed matinee at the Theatre Royal in Haymarket.
Charity matinee at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket 1899
Several people stand in a road for no apparent reason.
A group of older women and one man standing on a street curb look off into the distance.