Precious Objects – Photography and Storytelling by Charles J. Mintz
Cleveland, Ohio (August 14, 2012) –What is that precious object you have had a long time? Perhaps it has some special meaning because of how you got it or who gave it to you. Or maybe something that only has meaning today. A family heirloom? A toy you’ve had since you were four years old? Something your child gave you on your birthday? Cleveland photographer Charles J. Mintz posed this question to 172 individuals from throughout the United States, took their photograph with the item and asked each to hand write 2-3 sentences about their choice.
Precious Objects, a selection of some of those images, opens August 22 at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage. The participants were photographed in clothing and posture of their own choosing. Mintz recalls that “the subjects and the stories were largely unknown to me until after the session. People presented themselves without the usual direction of the photographer. What emerged was a remarkable collection of stories revealed through what they had written, how they dressed, how they stood and even the appearance of their handwriting.”
Photography is Mintz’s third career. Since becoming full-time in 2008 his work has become increasingly personal. In that time, he has completed two other major bodies of work, The Album Project, dealing with the communications of his son who has autism and Every Place (I have ever lived) – The Foreclosure Crisis in Twelve Neighborhoods. He has recently completed the photography for Costumes, a collaboration with Cleveland Public Theater. Mintz has Electrical Engineering degrees from Purdue and Cleveland State Universities and has studied photography at Maine Photographic Workshop, The New School and Cuyahoga Community College. He and his wife live in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood of Cleveland. He is a Life Director at Jewish Family Services of Cleveland, is on the board of the Cleveland Museum of Art Friends of Photography and is Board Chair of ICA – Art Conservation.
“Seeing the pleasure and pride of Chuck’s subjects reminds us that what is precious is unique yet universal,” says Executive Director Lynda A. Bender. “We are so pleased to host this exhibition of a local artist whose work illuminates the humanity in us all.”
Mintz remarks, “These people are telling what is important to them. I remain amazed at the heart that brought these stories to me, often sharing stunningly personal information.” Mintz will talk about what compelled him to create Precious Objects and what he learned from the people he photographed for this unique series of images at a guest lecture at the Maltz Museum on Wednesday, September 12 at 7pm. Advance tickets are available for $10/$8 Maltz Museum Members; call 216.593.0575 to purchase.
The exhibition closes Sunday, September 30, 2012. Paid admission to the Maltz Museum grants full access to all exhibitions. $12 Adults; $10 Seniors (60+) and Students (12+); $5 Children (5-11); Maltz Museum Members and children under five are admitted free. Every Friday through the end of the year, admission is $5 for every Adult, Senior, and Student. Charter One will sponsor a free admission day Wednesday, September 19.
Production of Precious Objects was made possible by a generous gift from Spero-Smith Advisors in celebration of the 40th anniversary.
All of the works, including those on display at the Maltz Museum, are available for purchase from 1point618 Gallery.