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In 1997, artist Paul Drucke began collecting photographs by going door to door in Milwaukee neighborhoods. So began A Social Event Archive, which focuses on the Instamatic camera and the social occasions it captures. The archive assembles the photos in the order received, and contributors choose the content of their submissions (#450, by Anonymous, pictured). "There has been an evolution in this project that has come about from having the guidelines left open for interpretation," Drucke said during installation, at Raleigh's LUMP Gallery, of a selection of the archive's photos. "If I had attempted to define 'social occasion' I would have come up with a much narrower range of photographs," he continued. "Leaving that decision to the contributors has produced a much more complicated take on the idea of the 'social occasion.'" One submitted photo is of an anonymous gravestone from the Civil War era. "It's a marker of another marker of a social occasion of another sort," Drucke said. "Had I attempted to work that into a more specific definition I never would have got there." Viewers are encouraged to contribute a photo for the archive throughout the run of the show, which ends April 1. For a sampling of the archive's photos, visit www.asocialevent.com. Call 821-9999 for details about the exhibition.

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