Jasper Wood Collection: Open for business
@ Cleveland Public Library
DescriptionThe photograph depicts a man sitting beneath a sign that reads: "Open for business; hat cleaning & dry cleaning." Cleveland free speech activist Jasper Wood was a self-taught writer and photographer. His principal subjects were the residents of the Scovill Avenue area of Cleveland, with whom he became familiar while frequenting jazz clubs in the neighborhood in the late 1930s and early 1940s. He purchased his first camera in 1946 and first exhibited his work in 1947 at the Cleveland Museum of Art's annual May Show. According to the Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art, he won three first place May Show awards (1949, 1951, 1953) and two honorable mentions (1947, 1952) for his photographs. His last May Show entry was in 1958. Through his photographs, many of which were taken with a Contax 35mm camera, Wood attempted to capture what he called the “felt moment seen,” or the emotional essence of what he, the photographer, was seeing. Jasper Wood took photographs to feel alive and connected to the world. He did not sell his photographs or create a career from them. To him, the creative act was most significant. In 1951, Wood won first place in the 31st annual competition of American Photography magazine (September 1951, page 529). In 1953, Wood made a 15 minute poetic documentary titled Streetcar, which depicted life in a big American city (Cleveland) centered on the experience of riding its streetcars. The film can be viewed at the Library’s YouTube account. One of...