Bilingual exhibit features photographers from Gaston County | North Carolina News

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By KARA FOHNER, The Gaston Gazette

DALLAS, North Carolina (AP) — A new bilingual exhibit at the Gaston County Museum of Art and History shines a light on the history of photography, largely through the lens of Gaston County photographers .

The exhibit, titled “Into the Darkroom,” explores photography, “not just as a technological advancement, but as a modern art form,” said museum curator Alicyn Wiedrich.

“And the big catalyst for me is that photography is one of those rare artistic mediums that captures…a moment. And there are a lot of examples throughout history where photography in particular has changed the way people people felt about societal issues,” Wiedrich said.

The exhibit includes an exhibit on Gaston County photographer Ennis Atkins, who was a photographer for The Gazette until 1947.

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After his death, his estate donated a collection of thousands of his photographs to the museum, Wiedrich said.

The exhibit also features work by Lewis Hine, who photographed children working in textile mills in Gaston County and other areas. His photographs helped spur the development of child labor laws in the United States.

The work of Rick Haithcox, a photographer who lives in Dallas, also features prominently in the exhibit. Haithcox also donated materials from its own darkroom, a space used to develop photos, to help the museum create an authentic darkroom in the exhibit.

Haithcox “was very helpful in setting up all of this exposure,” Wiedrich said.

The exhibit features historical artifacts including cameras and photographs from different times in history, as well as a timeline that shows the history of photography.

The final section of the exhibit, which includes the Haithcox Darkroom, also has interactive features, including an area where visitors can take pictures of themselves and hang them in the exhibit.

Wiedrich said making the exhibit fully bilingual — putting text in both English and Spanish — was a deliberate decision that was made after a conversation with a panel from the Latinx community.

“And when I got on board, they told me pretty much straight away that…for Spanish speakers, it’s hard for them to go to places like museums, because you know, when they get there, there’s nothing for them there. And so I really wanted to make it an inclusive experience,” Wiedrich said.

The exhibition will be visible until July 2023.

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