Nonprofit hosts accessible digital photo processing

CHICAGO (CBS).- Chicago’s visual artists may already be familiar with the nonprofit organization LATITUDE Chicago.

The West Town lab houses an accessible digital photo processing, and development laboratory.

The organization celebrated its 10th anniversary in March. To celebrate, they’re hosting a photography exhibition at the Chicago Art Department, curated by Associate Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Photography,  Asha Iman Veal. 

Veal said, “Participating in that role does not only involve doing shows or exhibitions at my own institution, but also at places around the City as a guest.”

“I know.” [Asha] Through the School of the Art Institute connections as well as the Museum of Contemporary Photography. Latitude was established with many photographic roots. It made sense to collaborate with a curator with photographic roots,” stated Colleen Keihm (Executive Director of LATITUDE Chicago).

Latitude has been providing services to students, hobbyists, and professionals for over a decade. Because of the accessibility to their space and resources, Latitude has been a central part of Chicago’s photography scene.

You can pay the membership fee and then sit down at a desk to use Adobe products. Scan film or family documents using the scanners. The scanners can also be used to scan film or family archives. We also have documentation for artworks and printers. Donations are what give us the space that you see. “So a lot of technology comes from local schools,” stated Keihm.

“Otherwise, most of the technology here is very costly. Keihm stated that by having the technology donated and having someone who can fix it and share their knowledge, we have been able build over the past ten years.”

Latitude was the inspiration for the anniversary show. Veal states that she tried to capture the spirit and creativity of everyone who makes this space an exceptional haven for artists from all levels.

“Do you know people who have been in the game for thirty years, five to ten years maybe? And they all use the facilities as part of the community?” Guggenheim Award recipients are also available. Veal said that there are people who shoot for Vogue magazine alongside those who have just graduated from undergrad or grad schools, and everyone in between.”

“I think that exhibitions and curatorial projects can always be changed, but this project was about LATITUDE. So it was less about thematics and more about showing off the community. “So it helps people understand that LATITUDE, the community, isn’t just one place. It’s actually the entire city they reach and hopefully, that can be kind of done through the arrangement.

It can be someone new to their profession, not necessarily thinking of it as a job, but rather as a passion. This will continue to the people who have made it big in our industry. And I think that’s a microcosm of what LATITUDE does we want to make sure the tools are accessible to anybody who’s interested in making images, not only photography but graphic design– really anything,” said Keihm.

You don’t need to be a professional photographer to come to our event. Keihm said that we are open to any questions.

“It can be so exciting the way that artists’ career are oftentimes very self-propelled. You don’t always have all the resources available. You must search for them. Veal said that LATITUDE offers that space, not just in terms equipment, but also as a community for people.”

The installation will remain up until December 8th. For more information, visit the Chicago Art Department website. 

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