Saturday, May 12, 2012
Brandon Thibodeaux and the Mississippi Delta on NPR's Picture Show
Texas photographer Brandon Thibodeaux and his portfolio of images When Morning Comes are the selections for May 10, 2012 on NPR's Picture Show blog.
Thibodeaux earned this recognition because he is one of the 100 Superstar Southern artists recently designated by Oxford American Magazine.
This is a portfolio of exceptionally powerful images documenting life in the Mississippi Delta, especially in and around the small village of Duncan and the village of Mound Bayou, the state’s first completely African American settlement.
The story of Mound Bayou is an archetypical Southern story, worthy of a Faulkner to tell it, or a photographer like Thibodeaux to document it.
The NPR site tells it like this:
"Jefferson Davis, the president of the Southern Confederacy, had a brother, Joseph.
"And Joseph had a plantation. And on that plantation, a man named Benjamin Montgomery was born into slavery.
"Montgomery managed the plantation until the end of the Civil War, when he bought it from Davis and built an autonomous community of freemen.
"Hard economic times ensued, and Montgomery sold it back — but his son, Isaiah, executed his father's dream: He bought more than 800 acres in the wilderness of northwest Mississippi and founded an independent black community called Mount Bayou."
Now, that's a Southern story.
I'm grateful to Thibodeaux for bringing it to us. He's definitely a Southern Photographer to Watch Out For.
I think the best Southern art -- including its photography -- engages stories like that, and the people who have lived them, and the places in which they have been lived out.