Thursday, September 30, 2010

Atlanta Celebrates Photography Now Wide Open

Atlanta's annual month for celebrating photography is now in full swing. There are over 150 lectures, film showings, and exhibits of local, regional, national, and international work. The opening reception is tonight, September 30th, at the Hagedorn Foundation Gallery from 5-8 pm. .

The online Guide to ACP 2010 is here. Go here and here for even more information.So much to see, so little time!

SlowExposures featured in The New Yorker

SlowExposures is featured in this week's New Yorker online photography blog Photo Booth.

The New Yorker's Elizabeth Biondi traveled to Pike County, Georgia for the opening weekend and had a wonderful time. She came back with good words for everyone, and includes images from the show, and from John Bennette's Southern Memories show, on the blog. She enjoyed "the Southern conviviality and hospitality [that] create an ambiance that is most of all creative and communicative."

Elizabeth says she "learned to pronounce the word “kudzu” properly, ate a lot of Southern food, met many talented photographers, saw tons of very good work, and fell in love with a number of photographs, especially Jessica Hines’s quirky boat picture."

"Most important," Elizabeth says, "the photographs helped me understand Southern ways a little better than I did before."

You go, girl.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

David Simonton in Southern Memories Show

Photographs by Raleigh, NC photographer David Simonton are featured in the special exhibition Southern Memories, organized by John Bennette at this year's SlowExposures photography festival in Pike County, Georgia.You can read John's comments about David's work if you go to the SlowExposures blog, here.

Simonton, a native of New York who grew up in New Jersey and moved to North Carolina in 1989, quickly turned his artistic gaze on his adopted home.  Noticing that North Carolina is primarily a state of small towns, he has documented over 350 of its towns and rural communities. 

Bennette says Simonton shows us "the small southern towns we hear about and dread." But I don't think that's right. I think David shows us the small Southern towns we live in, in a South that is perpetually in transition. 

Simonton pays particular attention to the Southern townscape in moments of this transition, from day to night, from rural to urban, from old to new. He helps us redefine Faulkner's old remark that in the South the past isn't dead; it isn't even past. In Simonton's images of the South, the past is present but in the moment of its passing, so we see not only what remains but the condition of how it remains with us. 

Simonton is widely recognized for his photography. His portfolio is among the work of a small group of North Carolina photographers in the permanent collection of the NC Museum of Art, along with John Menapace, Elizabeth Matheson, Caroline Vaughan, and others.

Simonton has also taught photography at NC State University and Peace College, both in Raleigh.

Among his many awards is the Juror's Award in the 12th Annual Center Awards Exhibition, sponsored by the Center for Photographic Art in Carmel, California, for his "originality of expression, strong guiding idea, skillful use of the chosen photographic materials, personal integrity, and relevance to our own times." He has also twice been named recipient of the Visual Artist Fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council (2000, 2008).

Simonton is well-included in John Bennette's show. He is definitely a Southern Photographer We Admire.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Chuck Hemard to show work at Opal Gallery

Georgia-based photographer Chuck Hemard will have a show of his work at Atlanta's Opal Gallery this year. This follows up on his participation in the New Southern Photography show earlier this year at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans.

Chuck is a native of New Orleans but grew up in Hattiesburg, MS. He received his MFA in photography from the University of Georgia in 2004 and now teaches photography at Auburn University. His work has been exhibited nationally and extensively throughout the Southeast US including the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia in Atlanta, Opal Gallery in Atlanta, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, Columbus Museum in Columbus, Georgia, Mobile Museum of Art, as well as the Appleton Museum of Art in Ocala, Florida.

Chuck's subject throughout his several portfolios is what we might call the New South, but he is especially interested in the pain of transition, in the cost of change, in the signs on the Southern landscape that mark what is happening to older notions of home, to the Southern illusion of stasis, of things remaining the same.

Chuck operates in the tradition of landscape photography but attends especially to the places where human actions impinge upon the natural setting. One of his portfolios, for example, documents the ways construction of interstate highways disrupts or confronts or nestles inside the world it cuts across by looking at what the reviewer Jonathan Bouknight has called "the strange no-mans land between interstates and exit ramps."

Chuck is good at capturing the concept of "the new South" visually, showing us Atlanta, for example, in Jonathan's words, as a "city of tombstones butted against interstates," whose charm comes from the  "cranes [that] populate the skyline and the slightly toxic river [that] runs through it."

Much of the kind of work Chuck does might, in the hands of a less skillful or insightful photographer, be labeled merely banal, a lifting up of the prosaic and the ordinary. But Chuck's work documents the necessary but still painful reality of loss, of giving up the familiar in favor of the culture that is not yet, but is still being born. Chuck is definitely a Southern Photographer to Watch Out For.

Jane Robbins Kerr is part of Southern Memories Show

Photographs by Georgia photographer Jane Robbins Kerr are featured in the special exhibition Southern Memories, organized by John Bennette at this year's SlowExposures photography festival in Pike County, Georgia. 

The show, up in the Whiskey Bonding Barn in Molena, Georgia, includes work by a number of Southern photographers, including in addition to Kerr, Raymond Adams, William Boling, Sheila Pree Bright, William A. Chambers, Brenda Fayard, William Gilliespie, Rob Hann, Jessica Hines, Joanna Knox, Kendall Messick, Donna Rosser, Anderson Scott, Jerry Siegel, David Simonton, Jo Lynn Still, Gordon Settinius, Colton Vincent, and Hai Zhang. 

Bennette says of Kerr that she "burns with a passion to make pictures and to tell stories with them," making "small black and white photographs that make you aware of the basic language of structures," that are "simple, almost naive, as if a child had drew them. You recognize them; they reassure."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Luceo Images Featured in NY Times

We've featured Atlanta-based Luceo Images before on Southern Photography, but today they are featured in the New York Times in their LENS blog, with a well-deserved story complementing the folks at Luceo on their skills, talent, and organizational and marketing ability.

Luceo Images describes itself as "a photographer owned and operated cooperative established with the goal of supporting the significant work of its members. Luceo produces the highest quality commercial and editorial photography and works to provide creative nourishment to our member photographers."

Its really 6 guys and a neat website -- David Walter Banks, Kendrick Brinson, Matt Eich (also previously featured on Southern Photography), Kevin German, Daryl Peveto, and Matt Slaby -- and some fine, fine photography. 

James Estrin of the NY Times says that "Luceo Images is a vibrant rebuttal to the notion floated by Neil Burgess that photojournalism died last month.” Way to go, you guys!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lydia Anne McCarthy wins Conscientious Portfolio Competition

Chapel Hill photographer Lydia Anne McCarthy is one of this year's winners of the portfolio competition conducted by Joerg Colberg on his popular Conscientious website. McCarthy's Refraction portfolio was chosen especially by Elisabeth Biondi, the photography editor of the New Yorker Magazine.

McCarthy is from Massachusetts but chose to move to Chapel Hill to enroll in UNC's MFA program in studio art. One might wonder in what sense this work is Southern, but when I look at these images made by photographing people through a fresnel lens, I immediately think of the harshness and merciless intensity of Southern light in the summertime.

Congratulations to McCarthy, and to UNC for becoming an attractive school for fine art photographers from across the country.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Shawn Rocco at SPARKcom

Raleigh photographer Shawn Rocco has work in this year's photography show in SPARKcon, Raleigh's festival of creativity and the arts, running September 16-19 in various venues in downtown Raleigh.

Shawn is a staff photographer for Raleigh's News & Observer who has been getting lots of notice and a whole slew of awards with images he makes with his Motorola E815 cellphone camera, which he describes as "the Kodak Brownie of the digital age."  You can learn more about this series, which he calls cellular obscura, if you visit his blog.

Shawn deserves even wider recognition for recognizing the potential of this medium to produce images that have a haunting quality, a result of the specific tonal range and imaging process of this at-once humble and yet powerful camera, at least when its at the service of Shawn's talented eye.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Slow Exposures 2010 Opens September 17th in Concord, Georgia

SlowExposures, nominally a part of the annual Atlanta Celebrates Photography festival, is rapidly becoming a photography festival in its own right, with several satellite exhibitions in addition to the main exhibition, as well as a Portfolio Review, a Salon on the state of fine art photography, a Jurors Talk, an opening dinner/reception, and the SlowExposures Ball. 

This year's edition opens on Friday, September 17th and runs through Sunday, Sep 26th, with the main show in the R. F. Strickland Center on Main Street in Concord, Georgia.

This, the eighth Slow Exposures show, includes the work of over 40 photographers whose work was accepted by jurors Brett Levine and Jack Spencer because in their view it "underscores the contradictions and complexity of the rural South." Levine and Spencer will discuss their choices in a Jurors Talk scheduled for Sunday, Sepember 19th, at 11am in the Strickland Center. 

In addition to the main show, there will be a show of student work as well as satellite shows of work by Diane Kirkland (at A Novel Experience in Zebulon, Georgia) and Malgorzata Florkowska entitled The Joy of Farming (at J. Michael's in Griffin, Georgia).

Guest Curator John Bennette has also organized a show of work from Southern photographers entitled Southern Memories: Inside Out that also opens on Friday, September 17th, to be housed in the Whiskey Bonding Barn in Molena, Georgia.

The Bonding Barn will also be the site of a Photography Salon on Sunday, September 19th, from 1-4 pm, featuring
John Bennette, Tony Casadonte, Gary Gruby and Rob McDonald in conversation on the business of fine art photography.

 Pike County is only an hour south of Atlanta, but it might as well be in another world. The folks who operate Slow Exposures really know how to show Southern hospitality. This is an occasion not to be missed.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Laura Noel Portfolo on Texas Photographic Society Site

Atlanta-based photographer Laura Noel recently won a portfolio competition for mid-career photographers sponsored by the Texas Photographic Society. Her work is now online at the Texas Photographic Society website.

The Texas Photographic Society is a major web-based resource for photographers inside and outside Texas, both for its hosting of information about photography across the country and also for the many competitions it hosts or sponsors each year.

Laura's portfolio of images on the TPS site is hauntingly elegiac, focusing on a modest suburban ranch house which Laura once shared with her former husband, a place Laura says that serves for her as "a repository for all the emotions and failures and successes and bits of everyday life and larger aspirations we either shared with each other or scorned."

The images in this portfolio were made as her husband and then she and her son moved out of this house in 2006.

Laura says that these "images are meant to be an elegy for the end of the relationship, but hopefully the photographs capture the greater process of loss and recovery everyone experiences at some point."

Congratulations to Laura for her powerful and personal work, and for winning this competition.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Shameless Self-Promotion: My Show at Meredith College

I'm having a show of my photographs, opening September 12th, in the Rotunda Gallery of Johnson Hall at Meredith College, in Raleigh, with the title "Living in the Gaze."

The show is up in the Rotunda Gallery in Johnson Hall on the Meredith campus until November 14th.

This work explores the commercial street as a theater, where we perform for each other our roles as men and women. Its about image and gender and commerce, or as Eliot put it, its about the faces we prepare to meet the faces that we meet.

I hope you, gentle readers of this blog, can make it to the reception or get to see the show before it comes down in mid-November. If not, you can see the show on-line if you go here:

In either case, let me know what you think.

Some of these images were made in the South. Many were not. What I think is Southern about them is an awareness I have from my Southern background of life as a kind of performance art. Part of being Southern is inheriting roles and costumes along with the history and the weather. After all, the difference between Scarlett O'Hara and Lady Gaga is a matter of degree, not kind.

The photographer is a part of the drama of performance as both audience and participant. We play our roles as artists as others play their roles as gendered people, as consumers, as embodiments of desire.

Now, that's done. I feel better. Now, back to keeping up with the REALLY important Southern photographers . . .