Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Heather Evans Smith is having a Great 2015, and Its Only September

Winston-Salem, NC-based photographer Heather Evans Smith (see image above) is having an exceptionally good 2015. 

Recently she was named winner in the Portrait category in PDN's Curator Competition and featured in a show of winning work at the Foley Gallery, on Orchard Street, up from July 29th to August 7th, 2015, in NYC. 

Smith has also had work in the Soho Photo National Photography Exhibition, up from July 8th through 25th at the SoHoPhoto Gallery in NYC. 

Others of her images are touring as part of the Critical Mass Top 50 Exhibition, to be on view next in Antigua, Guatemala at the GuatePhoto International Photography Festival, up from November 12th to 30th, 2015.

Last, but far from least, Smith's work has been singled out for celebration on the South Africa-based style blog Miss Moss, here.

Smith's success has been based on recognition of the strength of images images from her Seen Not Heard Portfolio (see images above). 

The PDN Jurors' statement about her work describes it as challenging "the Old English adage that children should "be seen and not heard," photographing herself and her young daughter as her subjects. 

They go on: Smith's "images create a voluble visual narrative on the relationship between parent and child, exploring the cycles that are passed down through generations and the tension between following the familiar and forging a newer—and perhaps stronger—path. 

'As strong as the mother-daughter bond may be, there also exists a distance inherent between two different individuals."

Smith's work is strong, indeed, well worthy of all this recognition in so many national and international venues. She's now included in my list of Southern Photographers We are Getting to Know.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Burk Uzzle at the Nasher, the Ackland, and the NC Museum of Art

North Carolina native and Distinguished Southern Photographer Burk Uzzle will be honored next year by concurrent exhibitions of his work in museums at every corner of North Carolina's Research Triangle.

Work from Uzzle's long and distinguished career will be on view concurrently at the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh, the Ackland Art Museum at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham concurrently from late spring through the summer of 2016. 

Each museum is focusing on a different aspect of work from Uzzle’s career. 

This truly extraordinary tribute will honor one of the South's -- and the nation's -- most distinguished photographers.

Uzzle was born in Raleigh in 1938,and began his career at age 17 as a staff photographer for Raleigh's News and Observer

At 23 he joined the staff of LIFE magazine as its youngest photographer and later joined capturing powerful images of American life and culture. 

Later he joined the famed agency Magnum Photos and served as its president from 1979 to 1980.

Uzzle is known especially for his iconic photographs of the civil rights movement, of Martin Luther King Jr., and of the Woodstock music festival. 

He is now an independent photographer who continues to explore the culture of America, from his base in Wilson, North Carolina. 

This series of exhibitions goes to show that you can go home again. We will have much more information abut these shows as their opening approaches.

Ansel Adams -- and Others -- at Duke's Nasher Museum

Ansel Adams was not a Southern Photographer, but he was certainly a photographer, and the Nasher Museum at Duke University is definitely a Southern institution.

So its worth our notice that the Nasher has opened a retrospective show of photographs by Ansel Adams this fall, up now through November 29th, 2015.   

Even more relevant to our interests, the Nasher will host a show entitled Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art, opening September 1, 2016 and up through January 8, 2017.

This show promises to investigate "the many realities, fantasies and myths that have long captured the public’s imagination, and presents a wide range of perspectives to create a composite portrait of Southern identity through contemporary art."

The folks at the Nasher do some of the most innovative and insightful exhibitions I know of, at least in this small corner of the American South, so I expect this show to be both compelling and challenging. 

The list of exhibitors is not yet public, but I think we can trust the Nasher to include photography in its definition of "contemporary art."

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Southern Photographers at the National Gallery of Art

The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC is currently hosting a show entitled The Memory of Time, up through September 13th, 2015, which the National Gallery explains as presenting
"work by contemporary artists who investigate the richness and complexity of photography’s relationship to time, memory, and history. 
"In the last two decades, as the world has undergone an unprecedented technological revolution, photography itself has changed profoundly. 
"With the advent of the digital age, people around the world are recording every aspect of their lives through photography, sharing their pictures with friends and strangers online and through the burgeoning social media. 
"Yet digital photography has not only changed the way people make and circulate photographs, it has also shattered enduring notions of the medium as a faithful witness and recorder of unbiased truths, for now everything in a photograph can be fabricated; nothing need be real. 
"Photography — once understood as verifying specific facts, capturing singular moments of time, and preserving explicit memories — is now recognized to have a multifaceted and slippery relationship to the truth and to the past.
"By embracing this complexity, contemporary artists have placed photography at the center of a renewed discussion around the construction of history and memory and the perception of time.
"The exhibition is divided into five sections: “Traces of History,” “Time Exposed,” “Memory and the Archive,” “Framing Time and Place,” and “Contemporary Ruins.” It features recently acquired works made from the early 1990s to the present by artists who explore these concepts." 

Annoyingly, the National Gallery does not put a list of the photographers in the show on its website, but PDN, here, tells us that the list includes Distinguished Southern Photographer Sally Mann and Honorary Southern Photographer Carrie Mae Weems (see image from the show above)

In any case, this sounds like a show not to miss if you are in Washington before mid-September.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

UPDATED -- Southern Photographers at the Ogden Museum in New Orleans

New Orleans' Ogden Museum has a show of photography up now through September 15th, 2015, organized in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's visit to the Louisiana coast. 

 The show is called The Rising, and according to folks at the Ogden is not intended to help us remember the storm's devastation, but instead to "celebrate the renewal and re-birth of the City of New Orleans" and "examine how  photography was central to the revitalization of New Orleans." 

The Ogden folks note that one consequence of Katrina's devastation of large parts of New Orleans was that "young photographers flocked to New Orleans and infused their creativity and vision into a city already known for its incomparable culture."

Thus, as the Ogden folks put it, this show celebrates "the explosion of new energy within the photographic arts community of New Orleans" by showcasing "the work of established, emerging, and recently-transplanted photographers living in New Orleans today" who are "are making exciting and innovative work in a supportive arts community that is expanding with unprecedented opportunities." 

The Ogden Museum was the first arts institution in New Orleans to open after Katrina. The Museum has worked with the New Orleans Photo Alliance (formed in 2006), and Prospect.1 (organized in 2008), to mount a collective arts exhibition intended to foster a creative outlet to "enable a community to recover and begin the process of healing" in "what is frequently called the most unique city in America."  

The Rising show features photography by Sophie Lvoff, Jonathan Traviesa, Tammy Mercure (see image directly above), Colin Roberson, L. Kasimu Harris (see image 2 up), William Widmer (see image at the top of this blog entry), Jennifer Shaw (see image below), AnnieLaurie Erickson, Cristina Molina, Vanessa Centeno, and David Armentor

You may click here to download a pdf of the show's catalogue and see more work by all the photographers featured in the show. 

Since I posted this blog entry, this show, and especially the work of L. Kasimu Harris, has received strongly positive notice by Cameron Shaw, writing in the NY Times.

Shaw says of this show, and of this image:

"There’s one photograph in “The Rising” that counters any nagging feeling of finality in these visions, which reminds the viewer that history is continually being rewritten, and that’s a good thing.

"L. Kasimu Harris’s “The Road Ahead” (2013) is a staged close-up of a dapper couple behind the wheel of a vintage car; their beautiful brown-skinned faces point straight ahead, slight smiles on their lips, eyes intentionally fixed on what’s to come. 

"The road of history is long, and while some memories may mark us forever, 10 years is but a brief beginning."

And so art continues its historic process of interpreting, and potentially redeeming, the time.

Congratulations to everyone involved in this fine show. 

Friday, July 31, 2015

Southern Photographers at the NC Museum of Art

The exhibition Director’s Cut now up at the North Carolina Museum of Art through September 13th, 2015, features a selection of photographs that were given to the Museum in honor of Dr. Lawrence Wheeler’s 20th anniversary as Director of the North Carolina Museum of Art.  

Wheeler's tenure has seen significant growth and development for the Museum, and nowhere more so than in the photography collection.

When Wheeler arrived at the NCMA in 1994, there were 22 photographs in the Museum’s permanent collection. Today there are over 400.

Images included in the Director's Cut show represent a significant addition to the Museum’s photography collection.  

There are works in this show by major photographers of the 20th century, including Distinguished Southern photographer William Christenberry,  as well as innovative works by contemporary photographers.  

I am happy to say that represented among these gifts are photographs by a number of Southern photographers in addition to Christenberry, including Durham-based photographer Christopher Sims (see image directly above), Asheville-based photographer Ralph Burns, Durham-based photographer Alex Harris (see image at the top of this blog entry), Atlanta-born photographer Tierney Gearon, Durham-based photographer Frank Hunter, and formerly Chapel Hill but now Princeton, NJ-based photographer Jeff Whetstone

Director's Cut is a small but very high quality show, very much worth a visit if you are in Raleigh, that celebrates the renaissance of interest in photography at the NCMA under Larry Wheeler's leadership, and points to even better times ahead. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Laura Noel Honored with APG/High Museum Purchase Award

Atlanta-based photographer Laura Noel (see image above) has been named recipient of the Atlanta Photography Group/High Museum of Art Purchase Award for 2014-2015. 

The High Museum will receive five photographs from Noel's Smoke Break portfolio for its permanent collection as a result of this award.

Noel's selection came after an extensive search process that began when Richard McCabe, Curator of Photography at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, chose the work of eight photographers from a national call for entries for the APG Portfolio 2014 Show. 

The award will be presented formally by Abbott to Noel at a special celebration hosted by the Atlanta Photography Group on Tuesday, September 1st, at the APG Gallery in the Tula Art Center, 75 Bennett Street NW, in downtown Atlanta.

Abbot describes Noel's work in this portfolio as documenting "the attitudes of those who continue to smoke in the face of society’s widespread disapproval of the habit.

Abbot goes on:

"The individuals are photographed in moments of contemplation, either briefly escaping from a workplace to smoke or relaxing with a cigarette within the comfort of their own homes and yards. 

"Noel’s work is a terrific complement to our growing collection of contemporary photography, and particularly to our strong collection of work by Southern artists."

I've been a big fan of Noel's work for years, as long-time readers of this blog will affirm, and I'm delighted to see her receive this honor. 

Noel's selection for this award confirms her reputation as one of the most important fine art photographers working in the South today.  

Good to see the High Museum recognizing the importance of Noel's work, and the work of Southern photographers, in their plans for developing their already outstanding collection of fine art photographs. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

News of Southern Photographers Part I -- Mid-Summer 2015

Much news of Southern photographers here at mid-summer, 2015. 

Here are some recent items. Part II, with even more news, will follow soon.

1. Durham, NC-based photographer Aaron Canipe (see image above) has been named a Runner-Up in burn magazine's Emerging Photographers Competition for 2015  for work in his Plateau portfolio.

2. Florida-based photographer Kathryn Harrison (see image above) is featured in the June issue of Aint-Bad Magazine, here, with work from her Side of the South portfolio.  

3. Dallas-based photographer Rachael Banks (see image above) is interviewed on the Mull It Over blog, here.

 4. Atlanta-based photographer Forest McMullen (see image above) has work featured in LensCulture, here, from his portfolio Black Cow Boys (and Girls). 

5. Atlanta-based photographer Megan Connolly (see image above) is featured in the June issue of Aint-Bad Magazine, here, with work from her From Elsewhere portfolio.  

6. Lexington, KY-based photographer Sarah Hoskins (see image above) has had a collection of over 250 images from her portfolio acquired by the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University. 

This body of work documents the traditions and daily lives of African Americans living in communities originally founded by freed slaves in Kentucky's Inner Bluegrass region the Civil War. 

 7. Williamsburg, VA-based photographer Eliot Dudik (see image above) has had his Civil War battleground photographs featured in the Smithsonian Magazine, go here. 

And there are more items to come -- keep watching this space.