Lost and Found Caption and Story Contest

Chapel Hill

Since 2017, the Ackland Art Museum has worked with noted UNC alumnus and collector Robert E. Jackson (MA, ’78) to assemble a collection of vernacular photography. Vernacular photographs are those that are made by individuals, typically presumed to be non-artists, for a wide variety of reasons, including snapshots of everyday subjects taken for personal pleasure. When collected, vernacular photographs typically lack contextual information—basic identifiers such as the names of the subjects, locations, and photographers, as well as the dates the photos were taken—and are, therefore, often discussed and appreciated solely in terms of technique, aesthetic composition, and their amateur or “outsider” status. Lost and Found: Stories for Vernacular Photographs flips this script, inviting the public to supply narratives for the exhibited snapshots. Just as these vernacular photographs themselves—relegated to flea markets, thrift shops, and eBay—are rediscovered by avid collectors and institutions, so, too, can the lost contexts and narratives of these photos be “found” by newly created stories and captions.

Sunday, January 5, 2020