Join us in a Scavenger Hunt to find Payphones… working or not, we are looking for payphones or locations where Payphones once stood.
We are looking to draw on the talents of our Community to participate in a unique crowd sourced project called #Payphonemaps to document and catalog, with your photographs, the remaining Payphones, or former sites of Payphones in the United States.
Now through October 2023, we will be curating an ongoing interactive exhibition of your photographs in the Streetside Gallery at the Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts and online. Selected images will also be included in a limited edition exhibition catalog which will be available as one of the prizes for participating in this community service project and exhibition. Photographs captured with any technology, from pinhole to cellphone cameras, and everything in between, are eligible to be submitted. Participation is free, but to be included in the map and exhibition, each payphone MUST be submitted with either the physical address or cross-streets, city, and zip code and if the Payphone is operational or not.
#Payphonemaps: Scavenger Hunt – Entry is available online by filling out this form and uploading your images.
The project is an initiative started by Eric Kunsman as an extension of his personal project, Felicific Calculus: Technology as a Social Marker of Race, Class, & Economics that will be opening here at the Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts on March 16th. Felicific Calculus, a project started to take portraits of Payphones when Eric moved his studio to the Hosanna neighborhood in East Rochester, NY., actually documents something much bigger. Through observation, conversation and photography Eric came to realize that contrary to established thinking, Payphones are not indicators of criminal activity, but provide a critical lifeline to a segment of the population and can serve as social markers of race, class & economics. Kunsman started out to take portraits of the Payphones in the community surrounding his studio as a documentary project. This effort quickly became an attempt to photograph all 1455 payphones remaining in Monroe County, NY, turning into a social awareness project in the process. He is now looking to summon the power of the community to crowd source an interactive map of all the payphone locations across the United States. What started as a question and a personal documentary project has turned into a quest and we are asking for your help.
In the run up to the opening of Eric’s and Amy’s exhibitions on March 16th, we are launching a Call for Entries as an appeal for people willing to help complete Eric’s map.
All images will be added to the map of Payphones throughout the United States on a dedicated website with image credit provided to each photographer.
Submit Your Photos:
The #Payphonemaps: Scavenger Hunt
Entry is free, Enter as often as you want, One Payphone location per entry.
Submit your images here: https://tinyurl.com/Payphonemaps
David DeMelim and Eric Kunsman will juror the submissions adding selected images to the walls of RICPA starting in March 2023 and running through October 13th. All selected images will be printed for free utilizing HiTi Dye Sublimation printers and provided free for participating individuals. At the end of the exhibition, prints will be available for pick up in the gallery, or participants can pay to have their prints shipped. Otherwise, the prints will be archived as portfolio available for viewing, but not for sale at RICPA in Providence, RI.
@NewEnglandPayphones will also curate a separate collection for us to feature the Payphones in New England. This will also be presented at the Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts and will be published by Booksmart Studio, as limited addition Artist Book.
We will start building the exhibitions on March 16th and will continue updating them through the gallery presentation of Abandoned, which pairs Eric’s Felicific Calculus with Amy Becker’s Dead ringers and it will continue as an evolving presentation right through October 13th. This curated exhibition, The #Payphonemaps: Scavenger Hunt will be archived online… and all qualifying images entered will be included in a companion online slideshow.
With the #Payphonemaps: Scavenger Hunt as a starting point, will be inviting Eric back to act as juror for a related Call for Entries for an exhibition opening in September… details coming soon.
Eric in his own words…
ABOUT: ERIC KUNSMAN
Photographer, educator, and printmaker Eric Kunsman’s interest in payphones began when he moved his Booksmart Studio to an area of Rochester, NY often colloquially called a “war zone.” Kunsman’s colleagues at the Rochester Institute of Technology, neighbors, and friends expressed concern about the new location, citing the existence of social markers such as payphones, corner stores, neighborhood bars, and vacant lots as evidence of criminality in the area.
For Kunsman, the relocation of his studio started a multi-year journey of photographing and documenting the location of payphones to highlight how technology serves as a social marker and the resulting misconceptions.
“The perception of one area being worse than another is often drawn to conclusion through such social markers. Often these perceptions ultimately perpetuate the stereotypes that exist along social, racial, and economic lines,” says Kunsman.
Kunsman’s upcoming exhibition at RICPA will explore the role of technology as a social marker and questions the stereotypes and misconceptions that led to the near extinction of public pay phones. Kunsman has envisioned an interactive and unique installation that includes photographs, video, and audio recordings and features this public participation.
The Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts, RICPA
Located in the heart of Providence, RICPA was founded to inspire creative development and provide opportunities to engage with the community through exhibitions, education, publication, and mutual support.
RICPA is Member supported and exists to create a diverse and supportive community for individuals interested in learning or working in Photographic Arts. We strive to provide an environment conducive to the free exchange of ideas in an open and cooperative space. Members should share a passion for creating, appreciating, or learning about all forms of photo-based media. We work to provide a platform for artistic expression, that fosters dialogue and drives innovation in the photographic arts.
The Gallery at the Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts is a member of Gallery Night Providence Gallery Night
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