Opening and Return Visit to: "PROOF: Photography in the Era of the Contact Sheet"

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Julie Smith
Stuart O. Smith, Jr.

PROOF: Photography in the Era of the Contact Sheet
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On February 7, 2020, we attended the PROOF: Photography in the Era of the Contact Sheet opening at the Cleveland Museum of Art (@ClevelandArt). This opening coincided with the #MIXatCMA party that we enjoy attending the first Friday of most months. There was so much to see at the exhibition that we returned to see more the following weekend (Sunday, February 16, 2020).

What follows are photos in our @sos_jr tweets and retweets, along with videos and articles about PROOF: Photography in the Era of the Contact Sheet. We put this together to tell the PROOF story and encourage others to come and enjoy this free exhibition.



Announcing PROOF!



Attending the Opening of PROOF: Photography in the Era of the Contact Sheet

Julie and Stuart at the opening for "PROOF: Photography in the Era of the Contact Sheet"
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One of the most powerful elements of the exhibition is that you can to view the proofs behind historical photos that you have seen many times in print.






#MIXatCMA - Monthly Cleveland Dance Party!

#MIXAtCMA - February 7, 2020, MIX:Cupid at Cleveland Museum of Art
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Tonight's theme #MIXatCMA:Cupid!! Be sure to play the video in the following tweet and enjoy the dance music!!



#MIXatCMA Tours

At #MIXatCMA there are normally two or more tours offered. They are worth attending! Curators, docents, Cleveland Institute of Art (@CleInstituteArt) professors -- are experts share their knowledge.

Tonight, our tour guide was Andrew Cappetta, the manager of collection and exhibition programs at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

To learn more, please be sure to read our past #MIXatCMA blog posts here!






More Tweets Shared After the Opening




 While at the Cleveland Museum of Art, a must-see is the life-size Snowman sculpture which is on view through Sunday, September 6, 2020.






Thanks, @sos_jr, for the share!






Yes, it warrants more than one visit!!

We did not have time to see everything during the opening, so we knew we needed to return to see more.



February 16, 2020, We Returned to See More!

We enjoyed the PROOF opening so much that we wanted to share it with our son, Michael Smith, on our return visit. We wanted to show him the items we enjoyed on our first visit, and to see the photographs that we did not have time to see. PROOF: Photography in the Era of the Contact Sheet is the type of exhibition that warrants more than one visit.



Marilyn Monroe Photo

Take a close look at the original proof and the final version published in Life magazine.  How many differences do you see?



Thank You, Supporters!

A BIG thank-you to the following individuals whose support made PROOF: Photography in the Era of the Contact Sheet possible.



Sections of PROOF: Photography in the Era of the Contact Sheet

The PROOF: Photography in the Era of the Contact Sheet was divided into sections that helped to not only organize the exhibition, but also added value by reinforcing the photographers' processes and areas of focus. Thank you to the Cleveland Museum of Art communications department for providing me with the following descriptions of the sections:


A contact sheet typically traces the hunt for an image. More often, the scope of the hunt is narrowed before the first exposure is made.


If the chosen frame is successful, most viewers won’t ask how the photograph might have been different. The contact sheet reopens the question, offering a glimpse of the photographer at work.


Sometimes, the contact sheet also reveals how the photographer shaped the chosen image by cropping away part of it.


Circulating the image of a particular individual has been part of the machinery of fame at least since the Romans stamped portraits of the emperor on their coins. Photography vastly enhanced the power of the image, especially after photographs began to be multiplied in very large numbers in the printed press.


Still photography played a vital role in Marilyn Monroe’s rise to celebrity. The pictures on view span nearly her entire career, from March 1950, when she was not yet a star, to July 1962, a month before her death.


When the celebrity sitting for a portrait is a performer, the photographer may aim for an image that seems to catch the subject in the act.


Some photographers have become celebrities in their own right. See photographs of Richard Avedon, David Bailey and Irving Penn.


The era of the contact sheet was also the heyday of picture magazines. As both ads and editorial illustrations, photographs were a powerful force in defining ideals of elegance and beauty.


Knowing that only one image will be chosen, the photographer can devote any number of frames to evoking the spirit of spontaneity.


An efficient way to represent a motion picture in a still image is to print strips of film. It can also be effective to include the sprocket holes along the edge, which enable the camera and the projector to advance the film.


In theory, the contact sheet is part of a working process and ends up in a file after the definitive image is selected. In practice, many photographers recognize the vitality and allure of the grid of images taken as a whole. Occasionally, it suggests the passage of time. More often, the array draws its dynamic energy from the interplay of frames: all similar, all different.






Visiting Snowman Again - February 16, 2020



Cleveland Museum of Art (@ClevelandArt) Galleries

We always enjoy visiting the galleries. We recommend using the museum's Art Lens app (see our ArtLens blog posts) when visiting the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Learn more about the ArtLens Gallery and App at:






What Others Say

Video from IDEASTREAM's article:
Learn How Photographers Worked From Proofs At Cleveland Museum Of Art

We like to share what others write about exhibitions and events we attend. Learn more about the PROOF: Photography in the Era of the Contact Sheet exhibition in these articles:



Related Blog Posts

There are many more blog posts that we have written about the Cleveland Museum of Art (read them here), and the museums in University Circle (read them here).

In addition to following the museum's @ClevelandArt twitter feed, we also recommend following @InTheCircle on Twitter, and exploring University Circle's website:



Disclosure: We were invited by the Cleveland Museum of Art's communications department to attend the February 7, 2020, PROOF: Photography in the Era of the Contact Sheet opening, which coincided with the Museum's MIX:Cupid event. We were given drink tickets, and admissions tickets to MIX.

We were approached to attend the opening because of our support of the Cleveland Museum of Art via our @sos_jr Twitter feed, and our blog posts about the Cleveland Museum of Art. We wrote this blog to share our experience of viewing the exhibition, and to thank the museum's communications department for inviting us to the preview.