Neighborhood Vanitas: Camp Washington, Cincinnati, OH.

Photographs by: Natalie M. Mancino

Memories are often triggered by a physical sensation: a smell, the sight or sound ofsomething vaguely familiar has the ability to launch an avalanche of sensations.  A flood of memories of places, people and experiences of our past can be unleashed by the smallest stimulus. This work is created in response to the fascination of the process of triggered memories, feelings of nostalgia and what those responses reveal about our identity.

This particular body of images focuses on the preservation of memory in an effort to uphold the character of a neighborhood’s past. It comes at a time when the physical re-development of communities is raging through the city and neighborhood identities are being changed and replaced. Story sharing and the act of documentation, creates the opportunity to bridge gaps between a new generation of residents, workers and business owners with those who are or were fixtures in a community. Capturing these stories and creating a physical representation of them allows memory and history of a place live on.

Social Medium: Photography as a Tool for Community Collaboration


Wave Pool Gallery - FotoFocus Biennial 2018

September 15, 2018–November 10, 2018

Social Medium exhibits and facilitates projects that create archives of communities made collaboratively with the communities being documented. Artists have made a place for themselves in the world of social work, being recognized as instigators for community redevelopment and for being able to build communication and collaboration in communities through creative means. Photography in particular has been used to create, document, and share communities, and as with the majority of art practices, in most photographic processes there is the artist, and then there is the subject.

In the world of social-practice art, where the aim is to create community and enact social change, the dynamic between photographer and model, artist and subject, can be problematic. Are we creating community or simply documenting it? Celebrating and bringing attention to populations or exploiting them? In response to this conflict of interest and the struggle of well-intentioned social-practice photographers to find the balance between using a camera to tell a story versus creating a new one, there has been a surge of photographic experiments that blur the lines between photographer and subject, artist and community.

Social Medium displays the results of several of these collaborative approaches to photography, and sees a shared, community-based photography project come to fruition with our own community.

Featured Artists: Eliza Gregory, Gemma-Rose Turnbull, Rebecca Hackemann, Mark Strandquist, Jason Lazarus, Chris Johnson, Hank Willis Thomas, Bayete Ross Smith, Kamal Sinclair, C. Jacqueline Wood, Natalie Mancino