The old and often shabby appearance of some buildings in the Wynwood Art District, a midtown Miami enclave of emerging artists and designers, can lead some people to overlook the area’s wonderful galleries, personal collections, studios and quirky shops.
But Wynwood is a gem in the rough, as revealed by the University of Miami’s department of Art and Art History and its new photography exhibition called “This is Wynwood: Vernacular Photography in Miami.”
Carsten Meier, an assistant professor in photography and the curator of the exhibit, involved both his students and local Wynwood residents in the project.
“The whole idea is to be locally active,” Meier said. “We’ve got students, people who live here and, naturally, people that commute here. We even tried police officers.”
Meier and his colleagues handed out 250 disposable cameras to people in Wynwood and told them to take a week to photograph their lives. At the end of the week they dropped off their cameras in a box at the gallery.
Meier’s team developed and printed the film. The photographs appear all over the gallery and the best photographs were enlarged and placed on display individually.
“We are in an area with fantastic, spectacular collections,” Meier said. “We can’t compete with them on that level, but we wanted to see how the public would respond.”
The gallery opened on Nov. 8 and was part of the Wynwood Art Walk – an event on the second Saturday of every month when local galleries and showrooms open their doors to the public between 7 and 10 p.m.
Vernacular photography depicts everyday life. The photographs are not staged and are not premeditated or planned. They are meant to represent a literal portrayal of life in Wynwood.
“This type of photography is strongly ignored by the art community,” Meier said. “We wanted everyone to take photographs of what they see everyday, whatever they saw in Wynwood, whatever is important to your life in Wynwood.”
The gallery is open to the public and admission is free, but appointments are required to see the exhibit. A reception will be held on Nov. 22, the last night of the exhibit, and will be open to the public.
“Every photo is photographed by an unknown artist,” said Logan Beitmen, the gallery director. “And now they all have their work displayed.”
The Wynwood Project Space is located at 2200 NW 2nd Ave.
To make an appointment to see the exhibit before it closes on Nov. 22, call 305-284-2542.