Joe Vitone: Family Records
Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Gallery
April 27, 2019 - October 27, 2019
“My intent is the way I’m seeing something significant in them. When I’m photographing the folks around Akron, I very much consider it an homage to them."—Joe Vitone, interviewed by Dan Polletta for WCPN/ideastream Joe Vitone: Family Records is an ongoing series of portraits of photographer Joe Vitone’s relatives living in and around Akron, Ohio. Begun in 1998, this body of work documents evolving interpersonal connections between parents and children, siblings, spouses, cousins and other relations within working class communities of the Rust Belt region. Shot each summer when the artist—now based in Austin, Texas—travels back to Ohio, this series features scenes from festivities such as birthday parties and weddings as well as intimate portraits set outside homes and workplaces. Touched by celebrations and struggles including marriage, divorce, addiction, new homes, unemployment, new jobs and babies, the lives of Vitone’s relatives reflect experiences common to families across the United States. Vitone prints his images, which he captures using 8 x 10-inch and 4 x 5-inch view cameras, in both black and white and color. Featuring 55 works photographed in Akron proper, as well as in surrounding communities including Barberton, Stow and Marshallville, Family Records marks the first time a selection from this series has been exhibited in Northeast Ohio. Joe Vitone: Family Records is organized by the Akron Art Museum and supported by funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Ohio Arts Council and The Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation.