This weekend there will be three exhibitions in three very different venues focusing on the medium of photography. "The Great Camera Build-Off" at Ease Gallery has its last day Saturday. "ImageOHIO 15" is at Fort Hayes Shot Tower Gallery through Feb. 20. And the Columbus Museum of Art's "#MobilePhotoNow" opens Friday.

This weekend there will be three exhibitions in three very different venues focusing on the medium of photography. “The Great Camera Build-Off” at Ease Gallery has its last day Saturday. “ImageOHIO 15” is at Fort Hayes Shot Tower Gallery through Feb. 20. And the Columbus Museum of Art’s “#MobilePhotoNow” opens Friday.

Calling this confluence of fine art photography a coincidence would be shortsighted, as the medium has been championed for decades. But the most interesting component of these three exhibits happening in Columbus, all at the same time, is how different they actually are.

“ImageOHIO 15” is a long-running juried exhibition organized by ROY G BIV Gallery, and presents the best photos from Ohio-based shutterbugs. “#MobilePhotoNow” is the largest mobile photography exhibit held in a museum in the world. “The Great Camera Build-Off” may not have the size of the previous two, but it offers the most ingenuity, presenting photos taken by Ohio State students who built their own cameras from obsolete equipment and everyday materials (straws, cardboard boxes, discarded wood, etc.).

So why are we seeing this abundance of photography right now? It’s surely not a coincidence. It’s because photography has made technological, aesthetic and conceptual advancements that allow for the utmost creativity. Photographers, no matter their skill level or expertise, can create captivating images. It’s about the “eye,” not the lighting or shutter speed.

As Jennifer Poleon, organizer of the museum’s “#MobilePhotoNow” exhibit, stated: “Photography is becoming more democratized, and technology is really taking off,” allowing anyone and everyone to capture — or create, in some cases — a moment of beauty.

Some viewers might even say “That’s impossible!” or “No way … you didn’t do that on your phone!” when looking at some of these images. The collection in all three exhibits is that astounding.

So see for yourself. Make sure to see “The Great Camera Build-Off” before it closes, if you can only do one this weekend. But make some time for “ImageOHIO 15” and “#MobilePhotoNow,” too. I promise you’ll be taking your own images in no time.

[photo credit: Robert DePaolo]