New York-based photographer Shane Lavalette joins Martin Parr and Kael Alford as photographers commissioned this year by the folks at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta to make a portfolio of work in the American South.
This project is the latest redaction of the High's ongoing series of commissions to bring distinguished contemporary photographers to the South to make work for the High's photography collections.
The group show of their work will be up at the High from June 9th through September 2nd, 2012, under the title Picturing the South.
If I were one of these folks, however, I would be more than a bit miffed at the High right now, because the High has chosen to show their work in tandem with another photography show called Picturing New York, a show of 150 photographs from the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and including work by All The Usual Subjects.
You know, Berenice Abbot, Walker Evans, Harry Callahan, Diane Arbus, etc, etc, etc.
Further, the High's publicity for this pairing privileges the New York crowd over Lavalette, Parr, and Alford.
If you don't believe me, go here to have a look at how they promote these tandem shows.
The New York work gets top billing, and by the way, while you are there, just in case you have a few more minutes in your busy Atlanta day, you might stop into the next gallery, because "Also on view is Picturing the South, a fascinating look at new work . . ."
Ouch! "A fascinating look"? Who wants to be fascinating? And why are they closing this show before Atlanta Celebrates Photography (ACP) opens in October?
In the case of Lavalette's work, of course, all the questions we raised earlier about Martin Parr's work also come into play.
Is this work an exercise in personal style, done to fulfill a commission? Or does it show us something about this artist's growth as an artist? Do we stop with the play of light over surfaces, or is there depth to the images? Does it actually make a difference for the work that it was made in the American South?
Lavalette's images for this commission are beginning to come out, so you can reach your own conclusions, by going to CNN here.
In addition, Lavalette is trying to do a book of this work, and he's enlisted Kickstarter to help him out. Go here for more details.
He has had the good fortune to get mentioned for this project in the London Daily Telegraph, here.
He's also featured with this work on TIME's LightBox And on Kickstarter's Tumblr, here.
At the least, the High has given us a great deal to ponder -- about photography, about the South, and about the state of our aesthetic self-regard, here, today, in what a friend told me yesterday we should refer to as the Postsouthern South.