The Newark Artists Photo Documentary Project exists to elevate visual artists while cultivating artistic awareness in Newark.

The Newark Artists Photo Documentary Project documents established and emerging visual artists in the City of Newark, creating an important record of their contribution to the dynamic arts and cultural scene that has defined Newark’s artistic community for the past century. Utilizing vintage Jem Jr. box cameras manufactured in Newark in the 1940s, photographer Colleen Gutwein O'Neal captures artists’ personalities in fuzzy, mysterious images that emerge against a backdrop of vanishing architecture, forgotten places and artists’ workspaces threatened with demolition or redevelopment.

Manufactured using the simplest form of photographic technology, the Jem Jr. images are created in conjunction with modern, digital portraits depicting the artists in their studios or homes.   This digital archive, the first such directory of significant visual artists in Newark, provides a useful tool and networking resource for the community at large.  The contrast of old and new, historic vs. the modern polarity offers a provocative commentary on the place of the artist in society today and the importance of honoring and preserving forever their contributions to the creative life of New Jersey’s largest City.  

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all images © Colleen Gutwein