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Photography exhibition captures the Franklinton community

Photographer William Arnold will present his exhibition “No. 13 Obscured by Clouds” at the Second Sight Studio in Franklinton on May 20. | Credit: Ghezal Barghouty

Photographer William Arnold will present his latest exhibition, “No. 13 Obscured by Clouds,” this weekend as part of the latest installment of the Second Sight project.

Second Sight was created in 2012 when Mona Gazala, an artist and the organization’s founder, moved to the area and bought a vacant house in Columbus’ Franklinton Art District, a historically low-income neighborhood that is currently being reinvented as an art community, according to its website.

The Springfield, Ohio native first discovered his love for photography — more specifically film — in high school, where darkroom classes were offered, he said.

Focusing his project purely on film, Arnold said the decision to use a medium other than digital printing is more pleasing for him as an artist. His exhibition features 85 to 90 prints that cover the walls of the Franklinton home.

“The idea is that this is three or four different cameras in 13 months,” Arnold said. “Probably six to 10 different kinds of film and probably around 10 states (are featured), as well.”

 Arnold moved to Columbus in 2001 to pursue a molecular biology degree at Otterbein University, although he soon changed his major to sociology with a minor in art. The change in major revived his passion for darkroom photography, he said.

In 2006, he moved on to work with the Ohio AIDS Coalition as a program manager for eight years. Nearly 10 years after completing his undergrad, he applied to the Columbus College of Art and Design to pursue a Master’s in Fine Arts.

Arnold said he was on the verge of living in his car. Fortunately, Gazala ended up offering him a residency at the studio.

“So here was someone I’d known for a few years, who was not only a street photographer, but also a social-justice and humanitarian-minded person,” Gazala said in a press release. “The potential for his work to expand and mature in Franklinton was huge. Thirteen months later, I can honestly say (I) have not been disappointed with the results.”

A Franklinton home was adopted by the Second Sight Project and is now a studio space where artists can live, create art and display their work. | Credit: Ghezal Barghouty

Last month, Arnold presented his thesis exhibition, “Franklinton on Film,” which featured photos of Franklinton residents and images of areas around the neighborhood.

His farewell show will include a culmination of his work from the last 13 months at Second Sight, he said. Film from his thesis exhibition and never-before-seen work will be on display.

“It’s really random at this point,” Arnold said. “That’s where I’ve come out of the MFA program, and wanted to just push back. I don’t necessarily have to have an explanation as to why these two images are next to each other, this is simply a culmination of my time here at Second Sight and what I was able to do while I was here.”

Arnold said a lot of his influence for the exhibition was based on the huge amount of images most people see everyday without realizing it.

“This is just a representation of my creativity, and my thoughts and vision,” he said. “Usually in my mind, there’s a lot of images and thoughts that just fly through, and so really if there is anything to take away, it’s if you really look around for a year and a half almost, there are a lot of images everywhere you go, no matter where it is or where you’re going.”

“No. 13 Obscured by Clouds” will be on display at the Second Sight studio, 730 Bellow Avenue, on May 20. Admission is free.

One comment

  1. I want to hang out with this guy, he seems pretty chill

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