James Presley Ball, a Black Daguerreotypist in 19th Century Cincinnati

September 29, 2022–October 31, 2022

The exhibition explores the life and work of activist, entrepreneur, and image creator JP Ball (1825–1904) with a focus on his Cincinnati studio. In dialogue with contemporary photographer Melvin Grier, the exhibition uses Ball’s work as a touchstone for a larger conversation about image making, race, class, wealth, and societal change at a formative time in a city that was, at the time, a cultural gateway, spatially, socially, and culturally. The exhibition plumbs the archives to weave a visual narrative centered on this enigmatic daguerreotypist, navigating class and racial divides, whose work had global reach and captured images from forgotten soldiers and children to figures including Frederick Douglass, Charles Dickens, and Queen Victoria. The exhibition illuminates and discusses the social and cultural contexts behind image-making on the “fringes,” visual work’s ability to negotiate, subvert, or influence culture.

Curators: Melvin Grier, Cedric Rose

Other Two-Person Show Photography Family Friendly

Venue Details

Mercantile Library
414 Walnut St
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 621-0717

Free to the Public

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