Exploring an Empty TMA

Late last year, Visual Designer Ben Morales was among a handful of the region’s top mobile photographers to be invited to participate in The Toledo Museum of Art’s Exploring an #emptyTMA event, an opportunity to explore this world-class museum on a day that it was closed to the public. All of us at Hanson thought this was pretty cool because not only is the museum one of our client partners, but Ben is a very talented photographer. I recently talked to Ben about what he got out of this exclusive experience.

Sally: I know you have an extremely active following on your Instagram account, where you have done many photography projects including photographing historical Toledo buildings. How did you get selected to participate in this event for The Toledo Museum of Art?

Ben: From what I understand, my friend and fellow photographer Eric Ward (@littlecoal) has been trying to initiate more collaborations with the museum because it is a cultural gem in our community that a lot of people aren’t aware of. So coordinating with their social media manager, they arranged for just a handful of the region’s top Instagrammers to explore the museum while it was closed to the public (under supervision of course).

Eric recently posted:

“Inspired by the work of @dave.krugman and others in New York City and Boston, the @toledomuseum joins an ever growing group of cultural institutions embracing the power of @instagram to expand the reach of their collections beyond the physical walls of the building.”

Sally: What was this experience like?

Ben: We had the freedom to explore many areas in the museum including the beautiful Peristyle, countless exhibits, and even the Glass Pavilion.

For me, the experience was a chance to see these spaces with fresh eyes and show the public the beauty of this amazing institution, inviting them to see it for themselves.

Sally: That’s incredible! How was your photography impacted by this level of freedom?

Ben: It was unique because on normal museum visits you have to deal with crowds of people and security guards constantly watching you (with good reason of course), so it’s difficult to capture that unique angle without attracting attention. But with this visit, I could sprawl out on the floor (which I often do) to get that perfect shot, and not be too self-conscious about it. I also was lucky to share this experience with a group of great friends that challenge and inspire me to share the beauty around me and my personal vision.

Sally: Thanks for sharing, Ben!


If you’re interested in art and especially photography, follow Ben Morales and The Toledo Museum of Art on Instagram.