Nonprofit hosts accessible digital photo processing and development laboratory in West Town
CHICAGO (CBS)-- Chicago's visual artists may already be familiar with the nonprofit organization LATITUDE Chicago.
The organization hosts an accessible digital photo processing and development laboratory in West Town.
This past March, the organization turned 10 years old. To celebrate, they're hosting a photography exhibition at the Chicago Art Department, curated by Associate Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Asha Iman Veal.
"Part of that role not only entails doing shows and exhibitions at my home institution but also places around the city as a guest," said Veal.
"I know [Asha] through the School of the Art Institute connections, as well as the Museum of Contemporary Photography. Latitude was founded with a lot of photographic roots, and so it made sense to work with a curator who has photographic roots as well," said Colleen Keihm, Executive Director of LATITUDE Chicago.
For the past decade, Latitude has been helping students, hobbyists and professionals print process, scan, and document their work. The studio has become a hub in the Chicago photography scene by way of how accessible their space and resources are made to be
"You can come in, pay the membership fee, sit at a desk and use the Adobe products. You can use the scanners to scan film or your family archives. And then we have additional equipment like printers, as well as documentation for artworks. And then the space you see here is really offered us through donations. So a lot of the technology comes from local schools," said Keihm
"Otherwise, a lot of the technology that's featured here is very expensive. And so by having it donated, by having someone who knows how to fix that tech and share that knowledge, we've been able to build over these past ten years as well," said Keihm
The anniversary show was curated around the community at Latitude. Veal says she focused on capturing the spirit of everyone who makes the space a unique haven for artists of all levels.
"Do you have people that have been in the game for 30 years, maybe five or 10 years, and they're all there as part of the community and using the facilities. So you have Guggenheim Award winners. You have people that are shooting for Vogue magazine next to people that are maybe coming out of undergrad or grad school or anywhere in between," said Veal
"I think with curatorial projects and exhibitions, it can always be different, but this was really about LATITUDE, so it was less a thematic show and really just who can we show off in the community? So it makes people understand that LATITUDE and the community, it's not just one place, but it's really the whole city they're reaching and hopefully, we can kind of do that through the arrangement of the works," said Veal
"It can be someone who is new to their career, not necessarily seeing it as a career, but as a passion all the way through to people who are, quote-unquote, making it in our industry. And I think that's a microcosm of what LATITUDE does we want to make sure the tools are accessible to anybody who's interested in making images, not only photography but graphic design– really anything," said Keihm.
"You don't have to be a photographer to be here. We're hoping to be welcome to anyone who just has questions, if someone is not sure about a thing, they could give us a call and we're happy to impart whatever we know, especially if it's something we don't have," said Keihm.
"I think it can be so interesting the way that artists' careers are oftentimes very self-propelled. You don't necessarily go into a place where all the resources are there for you. You have to seek them out. And LATITUDE actually provides that space in terms of equipment, but also that community for people," said Veal.
The installation will be up until December 8, and you can visit the Chicago Art Department website for their hours, as well as other community events that they're putting on.
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