Project Overview

Memphis/Shelby County Room - Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library

function[s] as a repository and research center while retaining an elegant sense of history

This project is an original artwork by Jeane Umbreit commissioned by the Friends of the Library and private donations through UAC in 2001. Jeane Umbreit's vision of the Memphis/Shelby County room, which combines historical and contemporary photographs in four large murals, recognizes its need to function as a repository and research center while retaining an elegant sense of history. Umbreit hand-paints black and white photographs to create atmospheric and nostalgic images which capture the spirit of the subject.


About the Artist

Jeane Umbreit

The ultimate goal for photographer Jeane Umbreit is to capture a moment that holds a universal appeal. Whether it’s a cypress trees noticed while floating the tributaries of the Mississippi River, a startled doe in the woods of the Canadian Gulf islands, Memphis gang graffiti, a child waiting outside a forlorn grocery store, or an obviously fragrant camellia on a mantelpiece, Umbreit notices particular times that seem laden with the beautiful potency of the familiar.

Those images she later enhances for composition and tones for emotional content. Sometimes she further embellishes an image with subtle layering or intentional double exposures. Umbreit gives her viewers the perfect amount of information to absorb full familiarity and presence of each image.