Social Photography: Art in Progress 

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click to enlarge Herron furniture design student Denise Conrady created this thesis piece for Social Photography: Art in Progress. - CHARLES FOX
  • Herron furniture design student Denise Conrady created this thesis piece for Social Photography: Art in Progress.
  • Charles Fox

First-time curator Aaron Pierce creatively weaves together digital photography, furniture design and visitor interaction in Social Photography: Art in Progress. The twenty photographers featured are a highly diverse group, in terms of background, content and experience level. They all produce work of great merit.

In a curatorial environment where social media has become highly integrated into museum and gallery exhibitions, Social Photography stands out as an especially interactive experience for viewers. Monitors and tablets placed throughout the space encourage visitors not only to view the exhibition's social media components - which include every imaginable platform, notably an Instagram gallery, filled with photographs, blog posts, and daily themed discussion questions - but to add questions and comments to further the discussions taking place. Gallery talks from artists involved in the exhibition occur as Google Hangouts in the gallery space, where visitors can connect with the artists.

The inclusion of Herron School of Art + Design furniture design students' work in the show may sound unlikely, but the specific pieces chosen for the exhibition create an environment that fosters consideration of and discussion about the photography on display. Denise Conrady's thesis piece - a particularly tactile table surrounded by cheese cloth with balls of various sizes arranged in craters, and a tablet resting on top of it - anchors the space and invites reflection.

What exactly visitors do while in Conrady's cocoon-like space is up to them, as is their participation in the exhibition and ensuing conversations. Therein lies the exhibition's success: Pierce asks poignant questions about the nature of art and photography in the digital era, with a methodology that appeals to any attention span or level of expertise.

Here's a selection of photos from Social Photography's Instagram gallery:

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