Sunday, February 19, 2017

Betty Press is having a wonderful 2017, and its only February

Hattiesburg, MS-based photographer Betty Press (see image above) has had work in shows all over the place in the past few months, while winning prizes and earning well-deserved recognition for her photography. 

Check out her website here for full details. 

I first met Press at the ACP Portfolio Review in Atlanta a couple of years ago, and knew instantly when I saw her work that she was, and of course continues to be, an exceptionally gifted photographer. 

Now, some very special accomplishments have come her way, well worthy of our notice. 

First, she is one of eight photographers to be featured in SHOTS Magazine's annual portfolio issue, with an extended display of her stunning B+W photographs made in Mississippi, go here

This is a truly remarkable achievement. I've been trying for literally years to get even one image in SHOTS, but to no avail. But now Press is in SHOTS with a major body of work. 

Second, Press was selected by Aline Smithson to be the curator for the feature on Mississippi for Lenscratch's States Project. 

Lenscratch's feature on Mississippi includes a body of work by Press (see image above), go here. 

Selected by Press for this project are Sumner, MS-based photographer Maude Schuyler Clay (see image above), whose portfolio in Lenscratch is here. 

Also selected by Press is work by Don Norris, another Hattiesburg, MS-based photographer, whose portfolio on Lenscratch is here

Congratulations to Clay and Norris for such fine work, and to Press for choosing them to represent Mississippi.

Also congratulations to Press for her fine work, and for the very well-earned recognition she is receiving.  

She's having a great 2017, and its only February. Who knows what the rest of the year will bring?

Southern Photographers Recently Featured on AINT-BAD

AIN'T BAD Magazine started in the South, a creation of some enterprising folks who met at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).

Its now branched out to have a world-wide focus in its pursuit of being what the editors call An Independent Publisher of New Photographic Art.

Even so, Southern photographers still show up in AINT--BAD.

Here are some Southern photographers who have recently graced the AINT--BAD spaces  

Maryland-based photographer Harrison Albert (see image above), go here to his feature in AINT-BAD.

Greenville, NC-based photographer Jefferson Lankford (see image above), go here to his feature in  AINT-BAD.


Myrtle Beach, SC-based photographer Tracy Fish  (see image above), go here to her feature in AINT-BAD.

Atlanta-based photographer Constance Thalken (see image above), go here to her feature in AINT-BAD.

Columbus, GA-based photographer Rylan Steele (see image above), go here to her feature in AINT-BAD.

South Florida-based photographer Melanie Metz (see image above), go here to her feature in AINT-BAD.

Upstate NY photographer Shane Lavalette (see image above) is Not From Around Here, but he did a series in the South for the High Museum in Atlanta, which counts for the folks at AINT-BAD, go here.

Atlanta-based photographer Johnathon Kelso (see image above), go here to his feature in  AINT-BAD.

Sarasota, FL-based photographer Carson Gilliland (see image above), go here to his feature in AINT-BAD.

Rural Virginia-based photographer Alex Grabiec (see image above), go here to his feature in AINT-BAD.

Appalachia-based photographer Stacy Kranitz (see image above), go here to her feature in AINT-BAD.

Sarasota, FL-based photographer Christian Delfino (see image above), go here to his feature in AINT-BAD.


South Florida-based photographer Mamie Heldman (see image above), go here to her feature in AINT-BAD.

South Florida-based photographer Michaela O’Brien (see image above), go here to her feature in AINT-BAD.

Durham, NC-based photographer Dan Smith (see image above), go here to his feature in AINT-BAD.

Athens, GA-based photographer Miranda Maynard (see image above), go here for her feature on AINT-BAD

Columbia, SC-baased photographer Ashley Kauschinger (see image above), go here to her feature in AINT-BAD.

You might also want to check out Kauschinger's portfolio In Her Own Right, whch is a collection of photographs, text, and audio of women in art, including Southern photographers like Maude Schuyler Clay (see image above).

Athens, GA-based photographer Ella Ferguson (see image above), go here to her feature in AINT-BAD.

South Carolina native Eugene Ellenberg (see image above), go here to his feature in AINT-BAD.

Savannah-based photographer Shayna Colvin (see image above), go here to her feature in AINT-BAD.

Memphis-based photographer Ariella Gibson (see image above), go here to her feature in AINT-BAD.

Last summer, the folks at AINT-BAD when back to Savannah, and to their roots, to curate a show at the SCAD Museum of Art. 

The show was up from June 21st to August 14th, 2016.

Photographers in the show included the following, at least some of whom are Southern photographers. 

Anthony Gerace
Ashley Jones
Caleb Charland
Celine Clanet
David Welch
Ginx Hudgins
Hannah Cooper McCauley
Jack Addis
Jaclyn Wright
Jay Gould
Juliane Eirich
Louis Porter

Marcie Hancock
Margeaux Walter
Mark Dorf
Meg Griffiths
Michael Paniccia
Richard Barnes
Thomas Gardiner
Tommy Bruce
Tommy Kha
Walker Pickering
Zhang Xiao
Zora Murff

Thanks to all the folks at AINT-BAD for all they do for photography in general, and for Southern photography in particular!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Representing Appalachia at the Tracey Morgan Gallery

The section of the USA we call Appalachia has been the setting for lots of photography over the years. 

This work has itself proved controversial primarily because of the economic and cultural distance between Appalachia itself and the world in which most audiences for fine art photography happen to live. 

And, for that matter, the world in which most photographers of Appalachia happen to live when they are not on the road, photographing in Appalachia.  

Audiences have often found the work engaging, compelling, even motivating to political action. 

Or, they have labeled the work "poverty porn," and questioned the motivations that lead audiences to support photographers in making images of a world they usually depict as impoverished, its citizens poorly educated, inadequately housed, and, perhaps worst (or maybe best) of all, annoyingly eccentric in dress, looks, attitudes, and behavior. 

This has led photographer Stacy Kranitz, who has worked extensively in Appalachia, to seek in her work a remarkable level of personal engagement with her subjects and personal honesty about her motivation for her work. 

Kranitz' approach to photographing in Appalachia brings to her work a strong sense of collaboration with her subjects, and with their cultural and economic worlds.

Kranitz has now pulled together a group show of photographs made in Appalachia which seeks to explore the relationship between photographer and subject, between the culture of aesthetic representation and the culture that provides these artists with the material they use to make the images they have produced.

The show is called Representing Place: Photographs of Appalachia, and its up now through March 5th, 2017, at the Tracey Morgan Gallery, at 188 Coxe Avenue, in Asheville. 

Photographers whose work Kranitz has chosen for the show include Ken Abbott (see image directly below), Rob Amberg (see image above, top), William Christenberry, Walker Evans, Sarah Hoskins (see image third from the top), William Gedney, Megan G. King, Builder Levy, O. Winston Link, Susan Lipper (see image second from the top), Tammy Mercure (see image two images down), Pamela Pecchio (see image directly above), Mike Smith, Doris Ulmann and Bayard Wootten.

The work on view ranges from classic images by Walker Evans, Builder Levy, and O. Winston Link to work from the heyday of B+W documentary photography, to more recent work, in color and often much more openly self-questioning about what constitutes an appropriate subject for a photograph, or the appropriate time to make it. 

So we get in this show a kind of documentary history of photographing Appalachia -- how its been done, how photographers have gone about their work -- as well as a history of this photography's reception by that audience of which we are a part. 

In Kranitz' words, "The exhibition explores the complicated series of negotiations involved in representing place and how the photographer seeks to demystify stereotypes; sum up experience; interpret memory and history through a variety of photographic strategies."

This show is an important show, because of the work on offer, of course, but also because of the kinds of reflection it promotes about the nature of what photographers in the South do when they photograph, and, especially, of what relationship we document ourselves as having with our subjects and their cultural and physical setting when we make the work we make in the South.

Kranitz herself continues to be busy (see image directly above) with the work of photography.

You can glimpse the range of her work if you check out any of the editorial projects linked here:

In Bloomberg Businessweek - Can West Virginia's New Governor Save Coal Country

In Society - À L'école Obama

In the New York Times - A.T.V's Draw Tourists to Coal Country

And, you can catch up with her in person at the talks she's giving later this spring, here:

On Wednesday February 8th, 2017 at 6:30pm, she will be at Point Park University's Center for Media Innovation in Pittsburgh, PA for a lecture on her work in central Appalachia.

She'll also be speaking about how stereotypes and personal moral beliefs code the way we perceive and read images at the True/False Film Festival in Columbia, Missouri, on March 2nd-5th, 2017. 

All well worth checking out. Kranitz is bringing us important work, and raising questions that are important to raise as we continue the practice of fine art photography in the American South. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Mike Smith and Students, also Joshua Greer, now at the Reese Museum

Mike Smith (see image above), a long-time Johnson City, Tennessee - based photographer and professor in the Department of Art at East Tennessee State University, is retiring this year from his teaching post.

In his honor, the university is hosting several shows of work by Smith and his students in the Reece Museum in the university's Center for Appalachian Studies.

Parting Shots is a solo show of new work by Smith. 

Under the Influence is a group show of work by some of Smith's former students, including Miwako Kato (see image above) and over thirty others. 

You can go here, to Blurb Books, to see the exhibition catalogues with all Smith's work and all of Smith's students' work included.

These shows were curated by Richmond, VA-based photographer Kevin Thrasher, another of Smith's former students at ETSU.

Also up in the Reece Museum is a solo show of work from his Somewhere Along the Line portfolio by Joshua Dudley Greer (see image above), Smith's colleague in the photography department at ETSU.

All three of these shows are now up at the Reece until March 3rd, 2017. Well worth your dropping by if you are in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Southern Gallery Opens Two Photography Shows in Charleston

The Southern Gallery, which has been open at 2 Carlson Court, in Charleston, for just over a year, is my kind of gallery.

Erin and Justin Nathanson have found a generous, infinitely flexible space between Meeting and King Streets, near the intersection between I-26 and US-17, and created a gallery they describe as a "contemporary art gallery dealing in recent works by artists connected to the American South."

Here is more about The Southern Gallery from Charleston's City Paper, celebrating the gallery's opening last January.

Displaying Southern photography been part of the Southern Gallery's mission since that opening show, which included work by Charleston-based photographer Gately Williams.

Now, they've really gotten into it, opening two photography shows this past weekend, Paradise Road and Paradise Out-Front

Go here for a review of these shows from Scott Ellingburg, in the Post and Courier, the local Charleston newspaper.

One is a solo show dedicated to the work of Eliot Dudik (see images above and below), featuring work from his new portfolio Paradise Road

This is a concept project. Dudik says he wanted to “drive to paradise and see what was there." 

Dudik got the idea that he could "take the temperature of the country” by photographing along roads to paradise in the USA, that is, roads named Paradise Road. 

Dudik has found 196 of these; to date, he has photographed over 90, and is still working on the project.

His show at The Southern Gallery includes 12 of theses images, and you can see them all if you go here.

The other show is a group show of work by folks chosen by Dudik to complement the work in his solo show.

This show is called Paradise Out Front, and includes work by the following photographers from the South:

Durham, NC-based Ben Alper (see image above), Charlottesville-based Matt Eich (see image below), Birmingham-based Jared Ragland, Richmond, VA-based Justin James Reed (see image three images down), Houston-based Bryan Schutmaat, Honorary Southern Photographer Aline Smithson, Austin, TX-based Katherine Squier, and Richmond, VA-based Susan Worsham (see image two down).

(And apologies to everyone whose work I haven't included. Some of your work was easier to find in reproducible files than others.)

There is also work in this show by Ian van Coller, Mark Dorf, Thalassa Raasch, and Anastasia Samoylova, but they are Not From Around Here, so to see their work in the show, and to learn more about them, please go here.

In fact, to see ALL the work in this show, please go here.

All these photographs are up at The Southern until February 26th, 2017.  

My advice is to rush right to Charleston and check out The Southern, and this fine show. 

Congratulations to the Nathansons for their vision, energy, and creativity in establishing The Southern Gallery and for including photography among their definitions of Southern art. 

This is a great show, a great chapter in the history of photography exhibitions at The Southern, and, I hope, a great sign of more to come. 

And, thanks, too, for welcoming me to The Southern very late on a Saturday afternoon.