Monday, September 28, 2009

Le Flash Kicks Off Atlanta Celebrates Photography

Atlanta Celebrates Photography opens officially on Friday, October 2nd, with Le Flash, a celebration of light that will feature over 40 projects in Castleberry Hill’s streets and galleries, vacant lots and windows, warehouses and rooftops. Events will include sound and light installations, performance art, poetry readings, music, video projections ands other lens-based projects, an iron pour and art happenings of all sorts.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Beyond Beauty: Conversations at the Nasher

The Nasher Museum at Duke University is hosting a half-day conference on the role of photography in modern society, scrutinizing traditional ideas that photography can function as an agent of social change, a record of historical events, or a source of aesthetic pleasure.

The conference, to consist of a series of conversations among professionals in the field, will run from 1-6 pm on Friday, October 2nd, 2009, in the Nasher Museum.

Participating in the conversations will be photographers Dawoud Bey, Bill Burke, Eric Gottesman, Laurel Nakadate, Susan Meiselas, Tom Rankin, and Deborah Willis. They will be joined by Philip Brookman of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and Alison Nordström of the George Eastman House.

Paul Hendrickson, Lehman Brady Visiting Joint Chair Professor in Documentary Studies and American Studies at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will conclude the conference with a talk about the archive's role in preserving and providing access to a society's photographic heritage.

This event is co-sponsored by the Archive of Documentary Arts at the Special Collections Library, the Center for Documentary Studies, and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. It is free and open to the public.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Roman Alokhin at Slow Exposures

Roman Alokhim, a New Orleans-based photographer, has exceptionally strong work in Slow Exposures 2009, now open in the Candler Field Museum at 349 Jonathan's Roost Road, Williamson, GA.

Roman's work in this show is drawn from ongoing projects documenting social and cultural change in Selma, Alabama, a city well-known for its pivotal role in the Civil Rights revolution of the 1960's.

His work in Slow Exposures also includes a piece from his body of work made in Gee's Bend, Alabama, among the quilters whose lives have been transformed by national recognition of the aesthetic strength of their art.

Susan Harbage Page at Hagedorn Gallery

North Carolina photographer Susan Harbage Page will open a show of her work entitled Postcards from Home in Atlanta on October 1st, 2009. The show will be at the Hagedorn Foundation Gallery, in Suite 25 at 425 Peachtree Hills Avenue, and will run through October 29th.

Susan's work often deals with identity, race, and gender, and often in almost painfully personal terms. The body of work in this show -- images of figures dressed in KKK robes sewn from contemporary fabrics -- explores, we are told, "how shared traumatic histories shape present-day social relations."

Susan will talk about her work in the Gallery at 7:00 pm on Friday, October 16th.

This show is part of Atlanta Celebrates Photography 2009.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Susan Worsham is Having a Year to Remember


Susan Worsham is a photographer from Richmond, Va, who -- after some time out west -- has recently begun photographing again in her home town. At the moment, she is finding recognition both regionally and nationally. In addition to winning awards and being juried into major photography shows, she has just published a large portfolio of her work in Ahorn Magazine, an online fine art photography magazine.

Her website features images made in Virginia. Susan's work invites consideration in terms of a southern perspective. One of her portfolios is entitled "Some Fox Trails in Virginia"; another, "By the Grace of God," drawing on the old self-identifying taunt, "I'm American by birth, but Southern by the grace of God."

Susan also has work in the 18th annual International Photography Competition sponsored by the Texas Photographic Society. This show opened at the Kirchman Gallery, 213 N Nugent Street, Johnson City, Texas, on September 11th and will remain up through October. Her work was awarded First Place in this show, juried by Cig Harvey, Associate Professor of Art at the Art Institute of Boston.

Susan will also have work on exhibit starting October 4th and up through November 8th at the 12 12 Gallery in Richmond, as part of the National Juried Photography Exhibition 2009, in a show juried by Julian Cox, Curator of Photographs at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.

you can read an interview with Susan on, here.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Slow Exposures in Candler Field Museum


Slow Exposures 2009, a show dedicated to photography of the rural South, opens Friday, September 18th, 2009 in the Candler Field Museum at 349 Jonathan's Roost Road, Williamson, GA.The show includes work from over 40 photographers that explore the South's complexities and contradictions. The show is up through September 27th, 2009. 

Jurors for this show included well-known NC photographer Tim Barnwell of Asheville, and Annette Cone-Skelton of MOCA-GA.Tim Barnwell will deliver the Jurors Talk on Sunday, Sep 20th, at 1 pm.

This show is part of Atlanta Celebrates Photography 2009.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Still Time for William Eggleston

Still time, but not much, to catch Mississippi photographer William Eggleston's major retrospective show at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC, up through September 20th.  Eggleston is credited with winning acceptance for color in fine art photography as well as for producing a body of work that treats southern subjects like Elvis and Graceland, not to mention Faulkner's Mississippi, with wry humor and unflinching grace.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Photography at the Nasher Museum

The Special Collections Library at Duke University has a large and especially strong collection of photographs, especially of photographs in the documentary tradition. A generous sample of work from this collection is now on display at the Nasher Museum of Art in the show Beyond Beauty: Photographs from the Duke University Special Collections Library, on exhibit through October 18th, 2009.

Work in the show covers the history of photography and includes images by Matthew Brady, Timothy O'Sullivan, William Bell, John Hillers and William Henry Jackson, Félix Bonfils, Eugène Atget, Julia Margaret Cameron, Peter Henry Emerson, Alfred Stieglitz, F. Holland Day, Peter Henry Emerson, Edward Steichen, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Lewis Hine, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Doris Ulmann, Aaron Siskind, Gertrude Blom, and Minor White.

The show also features documentary work on the American South, including images of Kentucky by William Gedney, Paul Kwilecki's photographs of Decatur County, Georgia, and Rob Amberg's images of North Carolina.

The show also includes work by southern photographers including Sally Mann and Alex Harris. Definitely worth a trip to Durham!

Jane Kerr at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center

The Callanwolde Fine Arts Center in Atlanta will open A New Slant on the South, a show of work by Mississippi photographer Jane Robbins Kerr on Friday, September 18th, with a reception from 7pm - 9pm. The show is up through the month of October. This show is part of Atlanta Celebrates Photography 2009.

Jerry Siegel at the Barbara Archer Gallery

 Atlanta photographer Jerry Siegel is opening a show of panoramic images entitled Images from the Black Belt of the American South at the Barbara Archer Gallery on September  11th, 2009, up through December. Opening Reception is Friday, Oct 16th, from 7pm - 10pm. Jerry will discuss his work at the Gallery on October 17th at 11 am. This show is part of Atlanta Celebrates Photography 2009.  Definitely worth checking out.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Elizabeth Matheson at Green Hill

Elizabeth Matheson will have a solo show of her work, entitled Still Here: Photographs of Old Houses, at the Green Hill Center for North Carolina Art, opening September 18th and up through November 19th, 2009.

Matheson is one of the North Carolina's, and the South's, most distinguished photographers. She studied with John Menapace at the Penland School over 30 years ago and has had solo shows at the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Birmingham Museum of Art, the North Carolina Museum of Art, and the Gregg Museum of Art and Design.

Matheson has also exhibited her work at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. She was presented the North Carolina Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Fine Arts in 2004.

Atlanta Celebrates Photography 2009 -- Guide Now On Line

Atlanta Celebrates Photography has developed into a photography festival of national, not just regional, significance. Coming to life in Atlanta every October, it includes this year over 150 major exhibitions and events at over 120 venues throughout metro Atlanta and central Georgia. Go HERE for the full schedule.
There's lots here of interest to the southern photographer. See especially the lecture by Atlanta photographer Tierney Gearon at the High Museum on October 29th, as well as the exhibition of Ms. Gearon’s work opening at Jackson Fine Art on Friday October 30th. Or Jerry Siegel's show of Images from the Black Belt of the American South up at the Barbara Archer Gallery from September 11 to December 31. Or Slow Exposures 2009, a show featuring images of the rural South (full disclosure: I have work in this show).

To keep up with ACP year-round, check out their blog, here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Is Alec Soth a Southern Photographer?

The High Museum of Art in Atlanta just opened a major exhibition of new work by Alec  Soth that brings up interesting questions about the “southern” in southern photography.  Soth’s work was funded by the High as the latest in a series of commissions under the general rubric “Picturing the South.”   

The show, entitled “Black Line of Woods,” consists of 12 large prints, mostly landscapes of leafless woodlands, often with a solitary figure positioned so as to make the figure seem small, dwarfed by the scale of the barren trees.

Alec Soth is an outstanding photographer, a member of Magnum, a fine person to be selected to do a commissioned body of work for the High Museum.  He is also from Minnesota.
So why bring up the question of Soth’s “southerness”? Because the High makes a point of it, especially by comparing his photographs to the stories of Georgian writer Flannery O’Conner in their common ability to “convey the unique spirit of the region.”  

The link with O'Conner is through subject of the images -- the title of the show is taken from an O'Conner short story -- and especially the people depicted in Soth's images, who, like the odd assortment of people one meets in O'Conner's stories, constitute “an unusual cast of characters living outside mainstream society.”  Soth’s “photographs," we are told, "center on the landscape, flora, and fauna of the Deep South, and the people who choose to live on the margins.”

So whose idea of "the unique spirit" of the South is captured by "an unusual cast of characters living outside mainstream society"? That actually seems far more an outsider's than an insider's view of the South.  But Julian Cox, the Museum’s head curator of photography, goes to great lengths to affirm  Soth’s “southerness”  when he is interviewed by Art Relish for the blog for Atlanta Celebrates Photography. Watch HERE (scroll down the ACP blogsite to the video under the headline “Julian Cox on Alec Soth’s “Black Line of Woods”), then read on. 

Now, of course, one can immediately tell from listening to his accent that Julian Cox, as my grandmother would have put it, “ain’t from around here,” but that’s not important. 

What IS important is the extent to which Cox  is quick to defend Soth's "southernness." 

Cox reminds us that Soth has photographed in the South before, in his Sleeping by the Mississippi project, that he has read and appreciated O'Conner, that his technique of photographing with his camera on a tripod causes him to slow down and that makes him southern, that his work exhibits a lyrical feel for the land, that it depicts loners, people who retreat from the world, that Soth himself is one of those loners on retreat in this work, that the work has an ominous feeling that captures something of the romantic myth of the South. 

One must wonder if this is really part of the unique spirit of the South, or if its just someone's myth about what the myth of the South really is. 

But then -- and here's the real surprise -- having made this case for Soth's "southernness," Cox takes it all back. At the end of the interview, Cox says that when Soth's project is shown in its fullness later this year, these images will become part of a much larger body of work which will demonstrate that the mood of foreboding and the motif of loners who retreat into an insular life is not southern at all, but everywhere.

So much for the distinctive "southerness" of ominous landscapes  populated by loners who retreat into insular lives.  But then we southerners knew that already.