Artography, at East Cleveland Public Library

Anonymous selfie with disposable camera from Artography, on view through August 18 at East Cleveland Public Library.

A typical photography exhibition features pictures taken by a professional, or a group of them.  What happens when you give disposable cameras to everyday people and a few pros?  The answer has been brought to life in an exhibition at the East Cleveland Public Library, thanks to LYLESART.

Disposable camera photo from Artography, installation view

The Artography Cleveland Street Photography Project is the brainchild of artist Julius Lyles III and his non profit organization whose mission is mobilizing the artistic expression of local and regional artists who excel at communicating powerful concepts in diverse media.  LYLESART, according to the artist, has conducted innovative exhibitions around a general theme of Black aesthetics with detail towards racial identity, social and institutionalized inequality, organized racism, political dysfunction and community service activities through his art practice since 2006.

Disposable camera photo, installation view

The cameras were placed in neighborhoods in such a way that passersby could use them to capture images that were meaningful to them.  The results were surprisingly quite artistic in many cases, defying what one would expect from amateur photographers.  Disposable cameras lack the controls and expensive glass that produce quality images and aesthetics.  In this case, however, an amazing collection of ninety-five photographs was created.  They are on display in a space in the library through August 18th.

Installation view of photos from Artography

The amateur photographers in the exhibition have been shown anonymously, but their work creates a very personal experience for viewers that aligns with the mission of community engagement and the creation of a platform for artistic expression.

The exhibition is made possible by funding provided Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, the Cleveland Foundation and a partnership between LYLESART, the Cleveland Public Library, and the East Cleveland Public Library.

Last year, a similar project took place involving a three-week workshop with 10 amateur photographers.  Images from that experiment are available here:

The current exhibition can be viewed in the auditorium on the lower level of the East Cleveland Public Library at 14101 Euclid Avenue in East Cleveland.

The opinions expressed on CAN Blog are those of the individual writers. Art is somewhat subjective. Well, somewhat. But yes, everybody's a critic.