Akron photographer Andrew Borowiec's reputation is founded on his insightful approach to documentary subjects rendered in beautifully printed black-and-white photographs. This exhibition features photographs of the Flats, a district near downtown Cleveland that was the historic epicenter of the city's industrial might—a visually rich world of factories and warehouses, nearby neighborhoods where the labor force lived, and a twisting river crisscrossed by countless bridges and railroad tracks.
The some 40 gelatin silver prints in this exhibition were a part of a generous gift of 87 prints, all contained in the photographer's third book, Cleveland: The Flats, the Mill, and the Hills, that were donated by Mark Schwartz and Bettina Katz in honor of James and Hanna Bartlett. Inspired by a 2002 commission by the George Gund Foundation to create a new body of photographs for the foundation's annual report, Borowiec jumped at the opportunity to photograph steel mills, warehouses, and residences before they were destroyed or refurbished. These images examine not only how the heart of a great industrial city has struggled to redefine itself as it enters the 21st century but the ways in which its history continues to shape its present character.