Lost and Found: Stories for Vernacular Photographs

13 December 2019 - 12 January 2020

     

Over the past two years, the Ackland Art Museum has worked with noted alumnus collector Robert E. Jackson (MA, 1978) to assemble a focused collection of vernacular photography. These photographs – including formats as wide-ranging as cyanotypes and cabinet cards – can intrigue, provoke, and irritate through their lack of contextual information. Without basic identifiers like named subjects, makers, and creation dates, vernacular photographs are often discussed and appreciated mostly in terms just of technique, aesthetic composition, and their “outsider” status. However, Lost and Found: Stories for Vernacular Photographs flips the script by inviting the public to flex their own creative muscles and supply new narratives for the exhibited snapshots. Just as the photographs themselves have been relegated to the world of flea markets and eBay and later rediscovered by avid collectors and museums, so too can their lost narratives be replaced by newfound stories and captions.

Twenty photographs from the exhibition are displayed below as part of an open contest (with prizes) to submit captions and short stories in response to the images. Selected written submissions will then be displayed alongside the generative photographs, with an invitation to all visitors to add new responses to these works and also to an additional fifty works. While the original tales may be lost to the ages, this exhibition invites our communities to celebrate the potential of vernacular photographs to stimulate our storytelling imagination.

This exhibition is funded in part by a grant from Arts Everywhere.

LOST AND FOUND Public Programs

2nd Friday ArtWalk
December 13, 2019

LOST AND FOUND CAPTION AND Story Contest

Contest Instructions:

Select one photo from this list of 20 (also pictured below) that will be displayed in the exhibition, then write a photo caption (up to 50 words) or a story (50-300 words) to bring the photo to life! There are no restrictions on the form or content of your story, so be creative! You are welcome to submit more than one caption or story.

While we respect the creative autonomy of all artists, the Ackland reserves the right to edit submissions for propriety.

Deadlines:

Early bird deadline: December 8, 2019, 11:59 p.m.

Submissions before the early bird deadline will be considered for the early bird grand prize, AND they will also continue to be considered for all other prizes awarded at the conclusion of the exhibition. Early bird submissions are also the only way to guarantee that your submission is displayed within the exhibition galleries throughout the entire run!

Final deadline: January 5, 2020, 11:59 p.m.

Rolling submissions will be accepted through the end of the exhibition to be considered for all other prize categories. We will update the gallery displays with new stories as we receive them.

Prizes:

Early bird grand prize: $200 credit to the Museum Store

Twenty-four prizes to be awarded at the end of the exhibition:
In categories for under 18, 18+, UNC student, and UNC affiliate
For each of 2 submission formats: photo captions (fewer than 50 words) and stories (50-300 words)

1st place: $100 credit to the Museum Store

2nd place: Individual membership to the Ackland

Honorable mention: A copy of Fortune Smiles: The Tyche Foundation Gift, a collection catalogue including creative responses to the Ackland’s collection by NC author Allan Gurganus

Notifications:

Authors who submit before the early bird deadline will be notified of the outcome of their submission on December 13. Authors who submit before the final deadline will be notified by January 10.

Photo Gallery:

Lost and Found will include a total of 70 photographs. We are displaying 20 of them here in advance of the exhibition opening for you to choose from!

  • Please enter a number from 1 to 20.
  • Accepted file types: doc, docx, pdf.

 


Image credits:

1: Unidentified artist, American, Group of Men Fighting, 1890s or 1900s?, cyanotype, 5 5/16 × 4 5/16 in. (13.5 × 10.9 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ackland Fund, 2018.23.8.

2: Unidentified artist, American, Woman Sticking Out Tongue, 1950s, gelatin silver print, 4 1/2 × 2 3/4 in. (11.4 × 7 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ackland Fund, 2017.24.13.

3: Unidentified artist, American, Women at the Zoo, c. 1909, gelatin silver print, 4 1/8 × 5 1/4 in. (10.5 × 13.3 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ackland Fund, 2018.23.9.

4: Unidentified artist, American, Children with Photo in Hand, 1980s, chromogenic color print, 3 3/8 × 3 1/4 in. (8.6 × 8.3 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ackland Fund, 2017.24.18.

5: Unidentified artist, American, Girl in Cinderella Costume, 1960s?, color photographic print, 3 13/16 × 4 11/16 in. (9.7 × 11.9 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ackland Fund, 2018.23.24.

6: Unidentified artist, American, People in Car, 1940s?, gelatin silver print, 3 7/8 × 5 1/2 in. (9.9 × 13.9 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ackland Fund, 2018.23.14.

7: William T. Ross, American, active 1880s–1890s, A Group of Seven Women Eating Cherries, 1880s-90s, cabinet card photograph, 4 1/4 × 6 1/2 in. (10.8 × 16.5 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ackland Fund, 2019.33.10.

8: Unidentified artist, American, Boys Sleeping, 1920s, gelatin silver print, 3 3/16 × 4 1/4 in. (8.1 × 10.8 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ackland Fund, 2017.24.1.

9: Whalen Photographic Studio, American, active late 19th to early 20th century, Gentleman of the Jury, late 19th to early 20th century, cabinet card photograph, 4 1/4 × 6 1/2 in. (10.8 × 16.5 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ackland Fund, 2019.33.27.

10: F. Lewis, American, active late 19th to early 20th century, Photographs of a Woman and Man Spliced Together, 1880s or 1890s?, gelatin silver print on carte-de-visite, 4 5/8 × 2 15/16 in. (11.7 × 7.4 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ackland Fund, 2018.23.1.

11: Unidentified artist, American, Double Exposure of a Man and a Group of Women, late 1980s/early 1990s, color photographic print, 4 7/8 × 3 7/16 in. (12.4 × 8.7 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ackland Fund, 2017.24.19.

12. Frank Wendt, American, active c. 1899, Man with Three Legs, c. 1899, cabinet card photograph, 6 7/16 × 4 1/4 in. (16.4 × 10.8 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ackland Fund, 2019.33.33.

13: Unidentified artist, American, Men Climbing Smoke Stacks, 1930s, gelatin silver print, 3 3/8 × 2 3/8 in. (8.6 × 6 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ackland Fund, 2017.24.4.

14: Charles A. Saylor, American, 1838–1921, Portrait of a Dog, 1880s-90s, cabinet card photograph, 6 7/16 × 4 3/16 in. (16.4 × 10.6 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ackland Fund, 2019.33.47.

15: Unidentified artist, American, Girl Throwing Football, 1971, color photographic print, 3 7/8 × 5 7/16 in. (9.9 × 13.8 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ackland Fund, 2018.23.27.

16: Unidentified artist, American, Man Blowing Bubble Gum, 1960s?, gelatin silver print, 3 1/4 × 4 1/4 in. (8.3 × 10.8 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ackland Fund, 2018.23.26.

17: Unidentified artist, American, Woman and Mirror, 1940s, gelatin silver print, 4 1/2 × 2 3/4 in. (11.4 × 7 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ackland Fund, 2017.24.7.

18: Unidentified artist, American, Portrait of a Woman, 1940s?, hand-tinted gelatin silver print, 4 7/8 × 3 3/8 in. (12.4 × 8.6 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ackland Fund, 2018.23.17.

19: Unidentified artist, American, Couple Wearing Swimming Masks, 1940s/early 1950s, gelatin silver print, 4 1/2 × 2 3/4 in. (11.4 × 7 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ackland Fund, 2017.24.11.

20: Unidentified artist, American, Group with a Snowman, 1890s or 1900s?, cyanotype, 4 5/8 × 4 1/8 in. (11.7 × 10.4 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ackland Fund, 2018.23.7.