Pittsburgh has a great history with Photojournalism and Documentary photography. In addition to Charles “Teenie” Harris, Elliot Erwitt, W. Eugene Smith and Duane Michals all worked extensively in Pittsburgh. Of course, Andy Warhol also experimented with photography but was not a photojournalist. Pittsburgh still pays homage to these old famous photographers. Recently Carnegie Museum opened a dedicated gallery to Teenie Harris and has made his extensive archive available on line.
I wonder about contemporary photojournalists and street photographers. In the 1970’s as a young photographer I was invited to become a member of The Associated Artists of Pittsburgh. I had the honor of exhibiting work at the Carnegie Museum (see below). However, photojournalists are no longer in fashion with art associations in the area. There were great hopes when The Silver Eye Gallery opened. Alas, they only seem to be interested in fine art photography. I am not judging this, fine art photography is fine and deserves to be exhibited, but so does photojournalism.
If you are a young photographer in Pittsburgh like Justin Merriman and fortunate to have a newspaper job, you have a way to display your work. But what of the hundreds of great photographs that he takes that do not get published. Sure there are many online groups like B&W Humanist & Street Photography Corner on facebook but they do not offer the same experience as being able to stand in front of an image in a gallery and have the possibility of buying a print.
This blog is the only avenue I have to make my plea to gallery owners and art associations in the area. People around the world love street photography. Take a moment and browse the internet. There are literally thousand of groups interested in this form of artistic expression. Open your eyes, take a chance and give young photographers the same opportunity to display their work to an audience that I had.