Art From the Streets, a fine arts nonprofit organization that champions transient artists in the local community of Austin, Texas, presents several art events every year. In some cases, the organization works with accomplished professional artists who support its mission “to provide a safe and encouraging environment in which the positive spirit and creativity for those experiencing homelessness are nurtured through their own artistic expression.” This summer, Art From the Streets is collaborating with renowned photographer Eli Durst.
An Austin Art Event
On July 1 and August 5, 2023, Art From the Streets and Eli Durst are joining forces to conduct a workshop focused on cameraless photography and present a follow-on exhibit of artwork from the workshop. The artwork that will be on display for the exhibit, curated by Mr. Durst, will be available for purchase.
Art From the Streets and other fine arts nonprofits creatively and innovatively add to the communities in which they operate, benefitting the people they serve. Art From the Streets increases access to art and empowers unhoused and at-risk artists in Austin to use their creativity to leave homelessness behind and become self-supporting members of society.
Cameraless photography is the process of manipulating light, radiation, and/or chemicals to leave an impression on photo-sensitive paper. There are several ways of making cameraless images, such as radiographs, luminograms, and chemigrams; but the most common technique of cameraless photography is arguably the photogram. Photograms are images made by the contact of objects on surfaces that are sensitive to light. They are generally unique and reproduce actual-size images of the objects that block light from the photo-sensitive surfaces. During Mr. Durst’s workshop, he will discuss in more depth the cameraless approach to creating photographic images.
Taking Pictures from Past to Present
Thomas Wedgwood and his buddy Humphry Davy invented, sort of by accident, the photogram. The images were the first actually documented attempts at permanent imagery, though the attempt failed. Gotta start somewhere. A photogram is kind of like a photograph but not quite. Partially because there’s no camera involved, but instead an image is created by placing an object on light-sensitive paper and exposing it, leaving a negative shadow of the object. Hence the reason the technique is also referred to as cameraless photography.
Eli Durst: About the Artist
Born and raised in Austin, Eli Durst studied American literature and history at Wesleyan University before receiving his MFA from the Yale School of Art in 2016. An award-winning visual artist, his work blends the languages of conceptual and documentary photography, creating open-ended and ambiguous narratives. He teaches photography at The University of Texas. (For more information about Mr. Durst, visit his website.)
Art From the Streets is an Austin-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 1991 to give transient people a way to develop as artists and use their creativity to climb out of homelessness. Purchasing artwork supports the artists directly. Donating to our program helps us to offer a free Open Studio for the homeless and at-risk.