Photography is understood to capture the world as we know it, or at least, as the photographer knows it. Since its invention in the 19th century, societal institutions—governments, scientific bodies, and libraries—have used photography to preserve and catalog people, places, events, and more. A marriage of art and science, photography is a pluralistic, democratic art that produces images in a rich array of forms and formats. These outlets are very familiar to us. Photography reigns in newspapers, magazines, books, postcards, billboards, cellphones, film, and video. Photography reports the news, it preserves our memories. And, here in this gallery, are photographs made by Clevelanders of their city today.
Since 1870, the Cleveland Public Library, a great research institution, has collected books, memorabilia, and images of Cleveland. For the first time, and in celebration of its 150th anniversary, the library has commissioned a photographic record of the city. This documentary project belongs to a rich lineage of photography and civic engagement. The Cleveland Print Room was invited to organize a group of local photographers to document the city of Cleveland. Their city as they see it. Working on the street, canvassing neighborhoods and locations as well as special events, this diverse group of amateur and professional photographers traveled the territory over a nine-month period.
All their images join the CPL collection as documentation of Cleveland in 2020. The exhibition presents many points of view of Cleveland, interwoven in groupings to evoke the texture of urban life at various intersections, monuments and neighborhoods; some familiar, others not. Each image contains facts as well as fiction; it is up to the viewer to complete their version of the aspect of Cleveland held in these prints.
On display until March 31, 2022
Main Library, Brett Hall
325 Superior Avenue, Cleveland OH, 44114
Meet the Artists
Stories from Cleveland
In conjunction with Cleveland Public Library’s 150th anniversary, ideastream collected the stories of everyday Clevelanders. These snapshots will spotlight the diversity, passions and hopes of those who call the city home.