Launched in April 2014, A People’s History of Pittsburgh invited the local community to share their personal photographs and stories online and at scanning events throughout the city. A wide range of photographic processes were submitted from large format black-and-white portraits dating as far back as the 1880’s to color polaroids of the 1970’s to camera phone photographs in the 2010’s. From 2014 to 2015, the project grew into a digital archive of over 1,500 images, illustrating the ways in which the conventions of snapshot photography are used to document ordinary, everyday lives while more broadly, attempting to unearth a city’s cultural history through the photographs of it’s inhabitants.
The project culminated in an accompanying print publication A People’s History of Pittsburgh: Volume One. Editors Melissa Catanese and Ed Panar selected over two hundred images from the collective album, reinterpreting the collection into a seamless flow of images that cycle through common and often sentimental themes of domestic life.
A People’s History of Pittsburgh was a project of the Hillman Photography Initiative at Carnegie Museum of Art whose first cycle investigates the life cycle of images: their creation, transmission, consumption, storage, potential loss, and reemergence.