Junior Civic League Semi-Formal Cinderella Ball, Idora Park Ballroom, 1950s-60s
Silver print on souvenir folder
Overall 5 x 13 inches
In the 1950s, Cleveland resident James “Jimmy” Baynes began supplementing his income as a mail courier and railway laborer by photographing local events, primarily music-related. He would shoot with a...
In the 1950s, Cleveland resident James “Jimmy” Baynes began supplementing his income as a mail courier and railway laborer by photographing local events, primarily music-related. He would shoot with a polaroid camera and sell the prints on the spot to the attendees, hastily stapling the portraits onto brightly-colored souvenir folders, often printed with the event information and his credit. The spontaneity of his practice is apparent in the object quality of the photographic memento.
Baynes would go on to open Baynes Foto Service and photographed the likes of Aretha Franklin, Louis Armstrong, and Memphis Slim, among many other famous jazz, R&B, and rock musicians. After three decades of photography, some of his polaroids were shown in a group show in Brooklyn just months before he passed the same year in 2010. His photographs can be seen in the collections of the LaMott Robinson Museum, the North East Ohio Popular Music Archives, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Museum Library and Archives in Cleveland.
Through his studio and commercial pursuits, Baynes created a vibrant body of work which tells a rich and specific story about Black public life in the midwest in the 1950s-70s.