Since its creation two years ago, CAPTURED::PITTSBURGH has become a driving force behind an emerging community of aspiring photographers.
It’s mission is to promote, educate and support western Pennsylvania image creators, and, according to co-founder Jason Fait, the teaching part may be most important aspect of what the organization does.
“Because until you actually sit down and you hear from somebody else that actually shoots photography in that field, the tips and tricks they have that you’d never think about,” Fait said. “They get a lot of education.”
CAPTURED::PITTSBURGH offers workshops in the field—like at live concerts or sporting events. It also owns the only open-air photo gallery in Pittsburgh where, each month, the work of eight local photographers is put on display.
“The concept behind the gallery space was to find a location that had been neglected and transform it into something the community can use,” Fait said.
Located just off of Walnut Street in the heart of Shadyside’s shopping district, the outdoor space makes the art accessible to the community 24-7, unlike standard indoor galleries.
In order determine which photos are displayed at the outdoor gallery, eight featured photographers are chosen monthly. The works are chosen from images submitted to the group’s Instagram or Facebook pages, then put to an online vote.
“We literally get about 2,000 submissions a month and sometimes more,” said Jason Kodat, who founded CAPTURED::PITTSBURGH with Fait in 2016.
“So, to be one of the eight artists to be picked is a bit of an honor,” Kodat said. “It's actually giving some of them the confidence to say, ‘Hey this is more than a hobby for me.’ We have actually had a couple of people start photography businesses after getting selected in the gallery.”
At the December gallery show, photographers and community members gathered for a glimpse at the final product.
Among them was, Kim Dalesandro an amateur photographer from Robinson, who has been involved with the gallery since its inception and had her work featured multiple times.
"Working with CAPTURED::PITTSBURGH means a lot to me,” said Kim Dalesandro. “It is such a good group to be involved with it gets me out into town and meet other photographers fellow photographers is makes good connections."
Jason Fait says his team has been positively overwhelmed by the public interest these first two years.
“Out of those 33,000 photos submitted, approximately 250 have been chosen so far,” Fait said.
Which is impressive in a world where the internet has changed the way the world sees and interacts with images, CAPTURED::PITTSBURGH is a bit of a throwback with its emphasis on showcasing photographic excellence up close and in person, rather than just on a screen.
"This is outdoor space where the photos are uniquely hung in the space so they look like they're just floating in thin air,” Fait said. “You have none of that apprehension of being enclosed in a store type atmosphere.”