Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Support the Light Factory -- New Year's Eve Appeal




Charlotte's Light Factory has been a center for Southern photography since 1972, featuring classes, exhibitions, competitions, and all the good things that a dedicated organization can do for a community.

But 2013 has been a difficult year for the Light Factory, with financial crises, crises in leadership, and a host of other challenges which for a time seemed to threaten the organization's future. 

But the folks in charge now seem to have recovered themselves. Here is the latest news, from Rebecca and the rest of the Light Factory Team --

"We recently moved to a new location in Plaza Midwood and are building out the space for classes and exhibitions. We’re also in the process of developing a strategic plan that will ensure The Light Factory's future as a sustainable, independent, nonprofit organization promoting photography and film in Charlotte and beyond.

"We are committed to transparency and welcome your ideas and suggestions at info@lightfactory.org."

New classes are scheduled, a Kickstarter project is in the works, and everywhere there is new life and energy.

This is all good news, indeed.

The Light Factory has been a center for the development of Southern photography since 1972. 

Every vital organization has its institutional ups and downs. Long may the Light Factory thrive.

We can support the renaissance of the Light Factory by giving a year-end gift or becoming a member.

I'm chipping in, and encourage you to do so, too.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas at Graceland, 2013



In the words of Paul Simon, "I have reason to believe we all shall be received in Graceland."

Best wishes for Christmas and the holiday season to Southern photographers and Southern photography fans everywhere!

The Blog about Southern Fine Art Photography will be taking a short break while your humble blogger attends to other professional and personal responsibilities.

In the meanwhile, remember that Christmas is a season, not a day, and the season of Christmas is 12 days long, so its Christmas until Twelfth Night, January 5th.

Happy New Year, y'all!

The Other New South -- Ashley Jones and Arturo Soto on One One Thousand



Savannah, GA-based photographer Ashley Jones and Mexico City-based photographer Arturo Soto explore Savannah in their portfolios featured in the November 2013 issue of One: One Thousand, the online magazine of Southern photography.

But their Savannah is not the Savannah of the Chamber of Commerce, the Tourism Office, or Southern Living. Its not even the Savannah of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Much as we celebrate the New South, the urban South, the South of Sunbelt prosperity, Jones and Soto want us to remember that change is costly for some folks, and in the midst of change, some things remain the same.

In the New South, what remains the same is that poor people, often also people of color, bear the burden of change. This is true in Savannah as it is true in Atlanta, and Charlotte, and any other Southern city.

In Durham, NC, for example, an expressway that linked the city to the interstate highway system and thus to Atlanta and Washington and New York City, was sited so that it runs directly through the historic, and historically African-American, Hayti neighborhood, destroying parts of it and cutting other sections of it off from the rest of the city.

Jones and Soto, both of whom studied at the Savannah College of Art and Design, bring this phenomenon home to us in their exceptionally well-seen documentary images of parts of Savannah that have been left behind, hidden beneath the overpasses, untouched by the economic development that has revived the rest of the city.

Jones' portfolio Frogtown to Victory explores the effects of interstate highway development on Southern cities.

 She notes the "stark division between the restored and legally protected buildings within the central National Historic Landmark District" of Savannah "and the struggling, run down neighborhoods that surround it.

Her images in this portfolio look especially at the impact of Interstate 16 on the Frogtown neighborhood and its general environment, the "at-risk neighborhoods along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and the ways in which they have been impacted by the construction of the Interstate 16 flyover."

In Jones' view, her work is not just about documentation but about restoration,  depicting "the current state of this community and the architectural structures that remain" not just "to provide an understanding of the historic and contemporary contexts of this community" but also to support "local movements to renew and revive Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and the neighborhoods."


Arturo Soto's portfolio All lovely things will have an ending looks at this same phenomenon from a broader and more conceptual perspective. 

 His subject matter is in his view "banal," and deliberately so, since what we otherwise know about Savannah is our images of its "beautiful historic district."

Soto is less interested in disturbing us with his images and more interested in alerting us to the contrast between the Savannah of his images and the Savannah of popular depiction.

Soto wants us to think about possible links between with "the mythology of the South" and the way in which the appearance of Savannah's "historic district" is maintained and also is portrayed in more typical imagery.

His goal is for us to "question the type of imagery that is usually associated with the identity of a picturesque city." After all, part of the"typical image" of Savannah is of a city out of time, creating the illusion that our experience of its evocations of the past places us in a kind of timeless realm.

Soto describes his images as "representations of stillness and silence," yet they are dramatically different from images of tourist Savannah, like this one.



Rather than evoke an aura of timelessness, Soto's "representations of stillness and silence attempt to depict the entangled cultural structures of a place that is rapidly changing."

We're always grateful to the good folks at One One Thousand for bringing us intriguing, challenging, and fresh perspectives on the American South.  Keep 'em coming!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

PhotoNOLA This Weekend



PhotoNOLA opens today, December 12th, for its annual 4-day run. 

PhotoNOLA is quickly becoming a major event in Southern photography. The folks in New Orleans pack a lot of life, energy, and photography into just a few days' time.

Organized by the New Orleans Photo Alliance, in partnership with the galleries, museums and photographers of New Orleans, PhotoNOLA offers a wide range of photography exhibitions, many of which are on display not just this weekend, but also throughout the month.

Work on display includes images by photographers with (dare I say) a Southern focus like Deborah Luster or Emerson Matabele (see image above) but also nationally and internationally prominent photographers like Andres Serrano, Edward Burtynsky, and Gerry Yaum.

The festival lineup also  includes portfolio reviews, workshops, lectures, demonstrations, book signings and the PhotoGALA.

And, wherever you are during PhotoNOLA,  you've got New Orleans itself right outside the door. Let the good times roll!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Latest News Updated -- Southern Fine Art Photography, Late Fall 2013



I've been attending to other projects, as faithful readers may have surmised. Go here to find out what I've been up to. While I was otherwise occupied, a lot has been happening in the world of Southern photography.

Here are a few items.

Tierney Gearon is having a show at Jackson Fine Art in Atlanta, up now with work from her  Colorshape portfolio through Saturday, December 21st, and with work from her Alphabet Book portfolio up now through February 2nd, 2014.

William Eggleston had a show at the PDNB Gallery in Dallas, TX last fall. He now has a show up at the Gagosian Gallery in NYC, through December with images from his At Zenith portfolio of cloud photography (see image above).

This work dates from the late 1970's and suggests of course that Eggleston had been thinking aobut Alfred Stieglitz's Equivalents images of forty years earlier. The catalogue is available here.

Eggleston continues to have a major show at the Tate Modern Museum in London, and is also featured at the Gagosian Gallery's booth at Art Basil Miami Beach, happening now.

Also, Chapel Hill, NC-based photographer Lori Vrba had a show at Wall Space Gallery in Santa Barbara, CA, where she now officially has gallery representation and a wider audience for her work.

Finally, for now, the following photographers have appeared -- since we last checked -- in Jeff Rich's ongoing Eyes on the South series in The Oxford American.

Margaret Holland Adams
Ari Gabel
Dylan De Rose
Tim Gruber

Jeff also brings our attention to a series of books called The American Guide, patterned after the Depression-era guidebooks sponsored by the U.S. Government as part of the Federal Writers Project.

 Several volumes in this series are on states in the American South and feature work by Southern photographers, including

Darin Acosta 
Breonne Dedecker
Michael McCraw 
Tammy Mercure
Missy Prince
John Lusk Hathaway
Lindsay Scott
Brittany Kearns
Aaron Canipe
David Jones

And that's enough news for one message. More later.

Jennifer Schwartz Gallery Closing, Crusade Continuing



Atlanta's Jennifer Schwartz opened a show of work on November 1st, 2013 by Winston-Salem-based photographer Heather Evans Smith, from her portfolio The Heart and The Heavy,  with a one-night-only event at Atlanta’s Goat Farm Arts Center and a subsequent exhibition at Schwartz' gallery at 675 Drewry Street in Atlanta's Virginia Highlands, now up through December, and viewable by appointment.

Schwartz then immediately announced that her gallery was closing at the end of the year -- with presumably Smith's show the last one for this long-time major player in the Atlanta photography scene.

Schwartz will now be devoting her time and seemingly boundless energy to her Crusade for Art project.


This project -- which last year involved a cross-country trip in a VW bus -- seeks to create more demand for art, specifically photographic art, or as the announcement puts it, "promoting and developing the careers of photographers and cultivating collectors."

The purpose of Crusade for Art is "to build artists’ capacity to create demand for their work" by "educating and mentoring artists to higher levels of creative and professional development" and by incubating, through programs and advocacy, innovative solutions that connect artists with their audiences."

This new phase of Crusade for Art will involve a range of activities, including national and local chapters of Crusade for Art as well as Crusade Engagement Grants, and you can learn more about it on the Crusade's new website.

I know a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, but I can't help but believe that the closing of Jennifer Schwartz's gallery is a significant blow to the photography scene in Atlanta.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Brandon Thibodeaux Named Exhibition Winner for Critical Mass




Dallas-based photographer Brandon Thibodeaux has been named one of three exhibition winners through this year's Critical Mass review process.

Thibodeaux won on the strength of his portfolio When Morning Comes, the result of a three-year-long exploration of life in the Mississippi Delta.

The folks at Critical Mass say of Thibodeaux's work that "while this work makes specific reference to the rural black experience," it also "reminds us that themes of faith, identity, and perseverance are common to us all.

"What started as a personal redemptive journey ends up illustrating the unwavering nature of the human spirit."

Congratulations to Thibodeaux on this achievement.

Interesting how the Mississippi Delta region (known to some as "the most Southern place on earth") keeps drawing photographers, and keeps inspiring them to produce outstanding work. 


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Updated -- Is Art Basil Miami Beach an Event in the Narrative of Southern Photography?




For a quick tour of Art Basil Miami Beach 2013, go here:
 
Then ponder this Question: Is Art Basil Miami Beach an event in the narrative or history or culture of Southern Fine Art Photography?

Discuss.

Monday, November 11, 2013

SxSE for Late Fall 2013



The latest issue (Volume VIII, Issue 6) of South by South East (SxSE) Photography Magazine is now out for late fall and early winter of 2013, and it has all the fine photography and engaging features we have come to expect from SxSE.

Editor Nancy McCrary has devoted this issue to bodies of work that tell us stories, chiefly but not exclusively about the American South.

The photographers whose work is on offer include Cameron Adams, Victoria Amador, Rhonda Prince, Clay Fisher, Forest McMullin, John Rosenthal, Mark Cáceres, Mike Nalley, Phil Winter, Roman Alokhin (see image above), Stephanie Bryan, Terri Garland, MaryAnne Mitchell, Vicki Hunt, Christian Harkness (see image below), and Beate Sass.


In addition to all this fine photography there are all the interviews, reviews, discussions, and conversations we have come to expect, and value, from SxSE.

And you can have access to all this fine -- and award-winning -- work for a very reasonable fee, a very reasonable fee indeed.

To subscribe, to do the right thing, go here.

Don't put it off any longer. We Southern photographers need to support our basic institutions,

You know you should subscribe. You know it, you really do.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Castell Photography in Asheville



Just off Eagle Street, and a block from busy Biltmore Avenue, in the heart of Asheville's thriving arts district, Brie Castell has fashioned an elegant multi-level gallery for the exhibition of fine art photography.

It's called Castell Photography Gallery, and it is an excellent space for the exhibition of images. Its also close to the Limones Restaurant, a fabulous Mexican eatery (but that's a whole 'nother story).

For the fall season, Castell has had the wisdom to get Larry Wheeler, the long-time Director of the NC Museum of Art, and Allen Thomas, eastern North Carolina's photography collector par excellence, to jury a show of photography.

The show is called NEXT, and it opens on Friday, November 1st, with a reception from 6:00 - 8:00 in the evening.

Among the 28 photographers whose work has been selected for this show are a number of people with Southern roots.

They include Nashville's Carla Ciuffo, Raleigh's Ian Dunn, Charlotte's Laurie Schorr, Chapel Hill's  Mike Sonnichsen, Atlanta's Ansley West, Raleigh's Tim Lytvinenko, Raleigh's Nick Pironio, Asheville's Adam Void, Greenville's Christine Zuercher, Savannah's Pablo Serrano-Otero, Athens, GA's Michelle Norris, and Johnson City, Tennessee's Joe Reynolds.

 Asheville is one of the South's great cities for art, and for photography, and Castell Photography is at the center of it.

This show is clearly worth a visit, and we will keep up with future goings-on at the Castell as well.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Southern Photographers in the News -- Early Fall Edition



Items of interest --

1. Honorary Southern photographer Jan Banning will show work from his Down and Out in the South portfolio at the Hagedorn Foundation Gallery, at 425 Peachtree Hills Avenue, in Atlanta, opening October 26th, 2013 and up through January 4th, 2014.

For more details, go here 

In 2014, the show will move to the 701 Center for Contemporary Art in Columbia, SC.

2. ACP (Atlanta Celebrates Photography) closes this week, with a gala on Friday night at the West Side Cultural Arts Center, at 760 Tenth Streeet NW, in Atlanta. For more details, go here.


3. But the photography show never stops in Atlanta. Winston-Salem, NC-based photographer Heather Evans Smith will open a show of her work at the Jennifer Schwartz Gallery, 675 Drewry Street, on Friday, November 1st, 2013.

4. FotoWeek DC also opens November 1st, go here for details.

5. Finally, since we last checked in, the following photographers have had their work featured by Jeff Rich on his unfolding anthology of Southern photography, called Eyes on the South, on the Oxford American website. 

Megan King 
John Lusk Hathaway
Melissa Stallard
Michael McCraw
Walter Beckham
Dawn Roe
Tamara Reynolds
Colin Stearns
Stephanie Dowda
Joe Leavinworth
Antone Dolezal
Laura Shipley
Tatum Shaw
Amanda Greene
Brett Schenning
David Simonton
Trish Gibson
Kate Winner
Tammy Mercure
Ashley Jones
Steve Eiden

Lots of fine work here, lots going on. So much to keep up with!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Matt Eich is Having a Great 2013, and It's Only October




Norfolk, VA-based photographer Matt Eich has had a whole slew of good news this year, and its only October.

Eich is working this month in Greenwood, Mississippi, on his portfolio Sin and Salvation in Baptist Town, funded by a Getty Images Grant for Editorial Photography. You can learn more about that project, and the grant, on the Getty Images website, here and also on Eich's site devoted to this project, here.

In July, Eich was Artist-in-Residence at Light Work in Syracuse, NY, where he prepared for a solo exhibition of his work at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art in Virginia Beach, VA.

This show, Seven Cities, explores Eich's vision of the seven cities of Virginia's  Hampton Roads area. The show is up now at MOCA, through December 29th, 2013.

 
Eich also has a solo show at the Babcock Gallery of Virginia's Sweet Briar College, with work from his Carry Me Ohio portfolio, up now through December 8th, 2013.

 Eich has also had work in shows in Cortona, Italy; Washington, DC; Kansas City, MO; and NYC.

He has photographed the Sweetwater Rattlesnake Round-Up for the New Yorker and been featured in Photo District News, the British Journal of Photography, the FlakPhoto blog, the LENS blog of the New York Times, and American Photo magazine.

Eich has also announced the launch of a limited edition, self-published magazine called Smoke Signals, to feature ongoing projects and new bodies of his work, more here.  The first issue has sold out, but the next one is on the way.

That's a lot going on for a Southern photographer, and its only October. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Light Factory Regroups in Charlotte




The Light Factory, Charlotte's center for photography, has suspended its operations to engage in what is being called a "strategic planning process."

What that means is that they are out of money and are having to reassess their mission and means of operation.

For more information, go here. 

As they put it, "As the broader non-profit community has struggled to maintain funding support, The Light Factory also has experienced a decline in funding, including both contributed and earned revenue, of almost 30 percent over the past three years.

“Suspending operations was a very hard and difficult decision to make, and we had to do what is in the best interest of the organization,” said Light Factory Board Chair Jeff Wise.

“We have been going through a strategic planning process to determine the best operating model for the organization, but the reality is that we just didn’t have the cash flow necessary to keep the operations going while we evaluate our options and determine a viable, sustainable solution.”

 "The Light Factory’s board of directors is working proactively to find solutions to the financial challenges, including possible mergers or partnerships with other organizations. “Our hope is to find a solution that will allow The Light Factory’s mission to continue,” said Wise"

This is a significant crisis for the Southern photography community.

The Light Factory has been a major component of the revitalization of downtown (well, they call it "Uptown," but let that pass) Charlotte since its founding in 1972.

Charlotte has made serious commitments to developing its downtown as an arts center in the past few years, including new buildings for the Mint Museum and the Bectler Museum of Modern Art.

But The Light Factory was there first, as a pioneer, and as a statement about how a facility that combines the work of a museum and a school can nurture creativity and energy vital to urban life.

This crisis in its history obviously reflects broader trends in funding support for the arts, but locally it's hard to imagine Charlotte without the Light Factory.

The good news is that older members have rallied in support, and plans are developing for a return for the The Light Factory to an older model for its operation, a return to a volunteer-led, grassroots organization.

There will be elections for new members of the board of directors, redefinition of mission, new models for staffing, etc, but the future of the really splendid space in Charlotte's Spirit Square for exhibitions, classes, and the general nurture of the photography community in Charlotte still seems to be in doubt.

 Stay tuned for more developments.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

David Simonton is Having a Great 2013, and It's Only October



Raleigh, NC - based photographer David Simonton is having a great 2013.

David's arresting black-and-white images of interiors, streetscapes, and landscapes, almost all made in small towns across North Carolina, have recently appeared in the Czeck photography magazine afuk, go here.

David's work has also been featured by Jeff Rich in the ongoing series Eyes on the South in the Oxford American, go here.

He had a solo exhibition at Louisburg College and award-winning work in the Juried Art Show at the Imperial Center in Rocky Mount, NC.

The George Eastman House International Museum of Photography And Film acquired a portfolio of his work for their permanent collection.

AND David's work will be featured in a show of work by North Carolina artists at the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh in February 2014.

Now, that's a lot going on for a photographer, and it's only October.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Mr Bennette Visits Barbie Beach




Mr Bennette has been hanging out with Donna Rosser and Anne Jarrell Berry at Barbie Beach.

Barbie Beach is a roadside attraction in Turin, Georgia, about which you can learn more here.

Mr Bennette says that the cast and crew of the Walking Dead TV series -- who film in the area  -- have taken to dropping off zombie Barbies.

Donne Rosser and Anne Berry have been making photographs at Barbie Beach for a while and now have a show of their work, Barbie Beach & Beyond, up at the Cochran Gallery in La Grange, Georgia.

Only in the American South . . . . .

The Bunnen Collection at the High Museum of Art



The High Museum of Art in Atlanta is currently featuring 120 photographs from the Bunnen Collection of Photography, up now through February 2nd, 2014.  

This exhibition celebrates the contributions of Atlanta photographer and arts advocate Lucinda W. Bunnen, who has been involved in the addition of more than 650 prints to the High Museum of Art’s photography collection.

Curated by High Museum of Art Curator of Photography Brett Abbott, this exhibition, in the words of the High, highlights "the aesthetic relationship between Bunnen’s work and the photographs she collected" and showcases work by local, regional, national, and internationally renowned photographers.

Bunnen has been collecting photographs since the 1970's, with the "intention of donating the works to the High, helping establish the Museum as one of the nation’s premiere collecting institutions for contemporary photography."

Bunnen began her collection with a purchase of 26 photographs by renowned Southern photographer Clarence John Laughlin.
Abbot says, “Today, the High’s photography collection is the Museum’s largest and fastest growing division. This amazing growth would not have been possible without the support of Lucinda Bunnen. 

"We are honored to share the works in this collection with Atlanta and to celebrate Lucinda’s invaluable contributions to the High and to the city’s arts community as a whole.”

 
Southern photographers you'll find in the Bunnen show at the High include Radcliffe Bailey, Sheila Pree Bright, Lucinda W. Bunnen, Harry Callahan, Oraien Catledge, William Christenberry, William Eggleston (see image immediately above), Emmet Gowin, Paul Hagedorn, Alex Harris, Gretchen Hupfel, Paul Kwilecki, Clarence John Laughlin, Sally Mann (see image at the top of this blog entry)  Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Susan Harbage Page, Virginia Warren Smith, Elizabeth Turk and Ilia Varcev.

Photographers Not From Around Here in this show include Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Minor White, Nan Golden, Chuck Close, Andres Serrano, Imogen Cunningham, and Robert Rauschenberg. So its an amazing show, well worthy of our attention.

 Just saying -- photography in the South would not be what it is today without the Atlanta Celebrates Photography festival, and ACP would not exist without the aggressive development of the photography collection at the High Museum of Art, and that collection is inconceivable without the contributions of Lucinda Bunnen.

So we all owe her a great debt of gratitude, and we can show that by heading out to Atlanta, ideally for ACP, but if not, then certainly before February, and getting to this show. 

Thank you, Lucinda Bunnen!   

The Bitter Southerner




There's a new on-line magazine worthy of our attention. It's called The Bitter Southerner, and the goal of Chuck Reese, the editor, and his colleagues is to bring us a story from the real South every week.

That's a daunting challenge, but they've been at this for two months, now, and the quality of the work is high.

The good news for us is that many of these stories are accompanied by photographs of exceptionally high quality, such as the images by Atlanta-based photographer Artem Nazarov (see images above and below) that accompany this week's story, by Dana Hazels Seith,  called We're All Freaks: My Three Years at the Clermont Lounge.

The goal of The Bitter Southerner is to offer stories from the real South, or as Chuck puts it, "a South that is full of people who do things that honor genuinely honorable traditions. Drinking. Cooking. Reading. Writing. Singing. Playing. Making things.

"It's also full of people who face our region's contradictions and are determined to throw our dishonorable traditions out the window.

"The Bitter Southerner is here for Southern people who do cool things, smart things, things that change the whole world, or just a few minds at a time. The world knows too little about these people, which is, alas, another reason to be bitter. But it prompted us to create The Bitter Southerner.

 
We’re talking here about people whose work embodies . . . “the duality of the Southern thing.”

"The purpose of The Bitter Southerner is to explore, from every angle we can, the duality of the Southern thing.

"Still, the tension — the strain between pride and shame, that eternal duality of the Southern thing — remains. Lord knows, most folks outside the South believe — and rightly so — that most Southerners are kicking and screaming to keep the old South old.

"But many others, through the simple dignity of their work, are changing things."

Congratulations to Chuck and all the folks at The Bitter Southerner. We'll  try to keep up with you, and attend to your photographs, and your stories as well.

Oh yes, the story about the Clermont Lounge, with Nazarov's photographs, and in book form, is due out in November. 

Eugene Richards in the Delta -- UPDATED



Eugene Richards, one of the most distinguished documentary photographers of our time, got his start photographing in the Arkansas side of the Mississippi Delta.


Richards developed this body of work while serving as a VISTA Volunteer in the early 1970's and published it in the book Few Comforts or Surprises: The Arkansas Delta, in 1973.


Richards has recently switched to color imagery and revisited the Delta. He plans to publish a book of this work in 2014, with the title Red Ball of a Sun Slipping Down. 

Richards has a Kickstarter campaign going at present to fund this project. You can find it, and support it if you like, here.

Richards has published some of this work,  in the November 2012 issue of National Geographic magazine.

You can still find the on-line version of his portfolio here. 


 What Richards sees on his return visit is change, and the challenge of, as he puts it, documenting "the disappearance of a way of life, to capture the delta that once was and isn’t today."

 "Nobody needs to tell me that nothing stays the same. Still, what did I do when I returned to the Arkansas Delta after 40 years? What everybody does who tries to return to what was once home: search for what they knew.

"The first couple of days I drove maybe 500 miles looking for sharecropper shacks. There used to be hundreds of them, painted white and raised up on concrete blocks. Now there’s not so much as a floorboard or a nail to mark where they were. It’s as if the Mississippi had overflowed and swept them all away."


This image of a pair of randomly-preserved sparkling red slippers Richards found on the porch of an abandoned house gets at some of the irony in this work.

It's somehow fitting that the photographer who would go on publish 15 books like Cocaine True, Cocaine Blue and to a whole slew of awards and fellowships for his uncompromising work among the desperate, the wounded, and the impoverished would get his start working in the Delta.

Eugene Richards is one of the finest photographers of our time. He certainly deserves to be regarded as an Honorary Southern Photographer.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Carrie Mae Weems Wins MacArthur Fellowship




Honorary Southern Photographer Carrie Mae Weems has been named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation.

Her Fellowship (the so-called "genius grant") recognizes her extraordinary achievements in photography and the visual arts and provides her five years of funding to ensure "maximum freedom to follow her own creative vision."
maximum freedom for recipients to follow their own creative vision. - See more at: http://www.macfound.org/press/press-releases/24-macarthur-fellows-announced/#sthash.DtNtYHvd.dpuf

The Foundation says that Weems was named a MacArthur Fellow because "in images that are lyrical and evocative, Weems unites critical social insight with enduring aesthetic mastery.

"Her signature works over three decades—Ain’t Joking (1987), The Kitchen Table Series (1990), From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried (1995), The Louisiana Project (2004 -- see image above), Roaming (2006)—juxtapose the harsh realities of race, class, and gender discrimination with the dignity and resilience of the human character in everyday life.

"She enriches the traditional black-and-white cinéma vérité style with African American folklore, multimedia collage, and experimental printing methods, and in many of her prints, she casts herself as silent witness and guiding avatar through “fictional documentaries” in contemporary surroundings or historical recreations.

"Resurrecting lives and legacies invisible in plain sight, familiar but unseen, Weems creates a poignant and revealing visual archive of the human condition."

Despite the fact that Weems is Not From Around Here, she has worked here extensively. She says of her work:
In images that are lyrical and evocative, Weems unites critical social insight with enduring aesthetic mastery. Her signature works over three decades—Ain’t Joking (1987), The Kitchen Table Series (1990), From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried (1995), The Louisiana Project (2004), Roaming (2006)—juxtapose the harsh realities of race, class, and gender discrimination with the dignity and resilience of the human character in everyday life. She enriches the traditional black-and-white cinéma vérité style with African American folklore, multimedia collage, and experimental printing methods, and in many of her prints, she casts herself as silent witness and guiding avatar through “fictional documentaries” in contemporary surroundings or historical recreations. Resurrecting lives and legacies invisible in plain sight, familiar but unseen, Weems creates a poignant and revealing visual archive of the human condition. - See more at: http://www.macfound.org/fellows/905/#sthash.GNjKciQu.dpuf
In images that are lyrical and evocative, Weems unites critical social insight with enduring aesthetic mastery. Her signature works over three decades—Ain’t Joking (1987), The Kitchen Table Series (1990), From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried (1995), The Louisiana Project (2004), Roaming (2006)—juxtapose the harsh realities of race, class, and gender discrimination with the dignity and resilience of the human character in everyday life. She enriches the traditional black-and-white cinéma vérité style with African American folklore, multimedia collage, and experimental printing methods, and in many of her prints, she casts herself as silent witness and guiding avatar through “fictional documentaries” in contemporary surroundings or historical recreations. Resurrecting lives and legacies invisible in plain sight, familiar but unseen, Weems creates a poignant and revealing visual archive of the human condition. - See more at: http://www.macfound.org/fellows/905/#sthash.GNjKciQu.dpuf

 "My work has led me to investigate family relationships, gender roles, the histories of racism, sexism, class, and various political systems.

"Despite the variety of my explorations, throughout it all it has been my contention that my responsibility as an artist is to work, to sing for my supper, to make art, beautiful and powerful, that adds and reveals; to beautify the mess of a messy world, to heal the sick and feed the helpless; to shout bravely from the roof-tops and storm barricaded doors and voice the specifics of our historic moment."

That, in my view, is an exceptionally powerful and challenging statement of the Southern photographer's project.

Weems' work in the South informs, enables, and ennobles us all.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fall Photography Festivals for 2013, Part Two



It's now officially autumn in the South, and the photography festival season is in full swing.

Folks in Atlanta, Washington, and New Orleans are gearing up to welcome the photography community. Each of these festivals has its own distinctive flavor, but they all have in common an exceptional array of good photography on offer.

October brings us Atlanta Celebrates Photography, in its 15th annual incarnation.

In Atlanta, in October, ACP is everywhere, This is a festival of exceptional variety and range, in exhibitions, talks, and gatherings both formal and informal. Every year, ACP transforms Atlanta into the world center of photography.

Actually, ACP has now grown so large that it has spilled over from October into the surrounding months. But you can find out about everything that is going on, if you go to the ACP Guide, here.

In the meantime, the folks in Our Nation's Capital are gearing up for FOTOWeek DC, which used to be a week, but now is up to 10 days, this year November 1 - 10, and is also due to grow and grow.

Washington has going for it the presence of that bastion of documentary photography known as the National Geographic Society, as well as major national museums, and a diverse collection of photography competitions.

December will bring PhotoNOLA, December 12-15, when the good folks in New Orleans will pack an enormous number of events into a long weekend. You can see their schedule of events here.

Work on offer this year includes the Great Picture, supposedly the world's largest photograph, and, as they say, much, much more.

More on all this as the season progresses!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Erickson and Johnson in One One Thousand for September 2013




We Southerners have complicated, paradoxical relationships with our geography. On the one hand we celebrate our landscapes, oceans, forests, mountains, streams, and rivers. We even celebrate our kudzu

On the other hand, we also dump our trash into our landscapes, or sell our landscapes out to the highest bidder who needs the space for toxic waste or refineries or chemical plants. 

Then we reject the kinds of government policy that might regulate use of our land, to make our use of it more benign. 

Annie Laurie Erickson (see image above) and Courtney Johnson (see image below), in September's One: One Thousand: A Publication of Southern Photography, offer photographs of natural settings that suggest some of this complexity. 

For both photographers, the emphasis is on technique, on how alternative ways of image making can open up the documentary impulse of much Southern photography to new ways of making meaning out of their subjects.

Both these photographers produce images that are of something concrete -- chemical refineries and fishing piers -- yet their work is very painterly, very impressionistic, very much about juxtaposition of subject and treatment.

In thinking about their work -- and especially the work of Erickson -- one might hold in mind the strongly confrontational style of Richard Misrach's portfolio of refineries  made for the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.

New Orleans-based Erickson  says here work is about "generating alternate modes of representation by isolating and exposing various aspects of sensory perception, using photography to create images outside the spectrum of human vision."

Erickson creates images that are "afterimages," latent images, using "handmade artificial retinas that register the remains of light," she is "able to simulate an essentially unphotographable visual experience."

This interest in the lingering after image seems appropriate, almost analytical, considering that what troubles us about refineries, is, in large part, what lingers after them, the toxic waste such operations leave behind as their operators try to escape the consequences of their labors.

Erickson notes that she was "struck by the appearance of oil refineries at night, which looked like strange forbidden cities." 

Soon, she learned, these sites were technically “unphotographable” according to post-9/11 regulations," a discovery that only "heightened [Erickson's] interest in them as photographic subjects."

She seeks to photograph these installations as "ghostly, mysterious constellations of light marked by unearthly color shifts," that "evoke both a presence and an absence. They are points along a continuum between strict representation and subjective abstraction, or between our immediate visual reality and the decaying, remembered imagery that subconsciously shapes our perception."



Wilmington, NC-based photographer Courtney Johnson makes similarly impressionistic, painterly images.

Her work, however,  attends to the phenomenon of the fishing pier, a construct that extends out into the ocean, providing fishermen with access to off-shore fish stocks  and the rest of us with the perfect opportunity to take a break from sand and sun and have the special experience of walking out over the water we come to the beach to celebrate. 

Johnson is also interested in alternative techniques and practices, making these images from her Light Lure portfolio using "low-tech pinhole cameras constructed out of cookie tins, fishing line and waterproof tape."

Johnson's cameras join both the underwater world and the world of fishermen. Her pinhole cameras are pulled underwater "by fishing weights, lowered into the Atlantic Ocean off all 19 fishing piers along the North Carolina coast."

Johnson's goal in her images is to "capture the light, mystery, and exploration imbedded in the historic North Carolina coastal tradition."

In all this work there is the conversation between subject and technique, between experience and interpretation, between aesthetic pleasure and rueful concern about the Southern environment and what we are doing to it. 

One: One Thousand continues to remind us of the exceptional range of photographic work being done in the South, and to challenge as well as to delight us with their monthly offerings. 

Keep up the good work, you guys.


Southern Photographers in the News -- Mid September 2013




Rebekah Jacob and her gallery in Charleston have been featured in a story in Charleston Living magazine, here.


Portfolios  by Houston's Keliy Anderson-Staley, Norfolk, Viginia's Matt Eich, and Richmond, Virginia's Susan Worsham are included in FlakPhoto's online exhibition Making Pictures of People, in cooperation with the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.


And SlowExposures 2013 opens today (image courtesy Donna Rosser).

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mitchell Kearney at Rebus Works



Back in the late 1970's and 1980's, pop culture in New York City was defined by punk rock, and the Ramones, and Andy Warhol, and the photographer Michell Kearney was in the middle of it.


Then, defying the old adage that in America there are no second acts, Kearney moved to Charlotte, where he has become a very successful commercial photographer.

But he brought his early work with him when he moved South, and you can see it now, up at Raleigh's Rebus Works, now through October 26th, 2013. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

SxSE for Early Fall 2013




Nancy McCrary and all the good folks at South by Southeast Photography Magazine (SxSE) have a rich assortment of work for us in the early fall 2013 issue (volume VIII, issue 5), now online.

This issue comes out in the dog days of summer for 2013, and so its appropriate that much of this issue is given over to images of dogs, as well as to the not totally unrelated topic of children. 

We have portfolios of dog photographs by Allison Barnes, Beth Lilly, Jim McGuire, Karl Baden, Parker Smith, Priscilla Davis, Walter Beckham, and Willard Pate.

Their work is complemented by portfolios of children from DB Waltrip, Karl Baden, Kim Lane, Mary Anne Mitchell, Rick Smith, Builder Levy, Parker Smith, Rob Amberg, Rose Wind Jerome, and
Aaron Canipe.

We've also got a long interview with the distinguished American photographer Elliot Erwitt, a review of a new limited edition portfolio of Sally Mann's Southern Landscape (see image above), conversations with Jack Spencer and Clint Kimberling, and much, much more.

And you can have access to all this fine -- and award-winning -- work for a very reasonable fee, a fee insignificant in the larger scheme of things, a fee not worth a second thought.

To subscribe, go here.

Don't put it off any longer.

You know you should subscribe.

You know it, you really do.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Mr Bennette and Lori Vrba Make Special Plans for Slow Exposures


 
SlowExposures opens this year on September 20th, in Pike County, Georgia, just south of Atlanta. And it is becoming more of a photography festival with every passing year.

The schedule of events now lists portfolio reviews, satellite shows, pop-up shows, workshops, formal presentations on photographic practice, and scheduled informal discussions in addition to the customary gatherings for food and Southern hospitality.

Here are a couple of examples of what's happening.

 
John Bennette, the distinguished curator of photography, is offering once again his own special vision of Southern photography, in a satellite show at the Whiskey Bonding Barn, in Molena, Ga, entitled Fins, Fur,  Feathers,  and Foliage. 

Mr. Bennette's show brings together the work of a number of photographers of the Southern landscape, including Laura Noel, Jane Robbins Kerr, Donna Rosser, Eliot Dudik (see image above), Bryce Lankard, S. Gayle Stevens, McNair Evans, and, as they say, many more.

Mr. Bennette has been giving us a foretaste of the work in this show on his blog, Hanging with Mr Bennette, and you can check it out here.


In addition, Chapel Hill, NC-based photographer Lori Vrba (see image above) is bringing an RV to SlowExposures this year.

She and her colleagues Anne Berry, Ann George, S.Gayle Stevens, and Bryce Lankard have formed what they are calling a Photography Posse.

They are all going to be living in the RV, making music, and discussing photography. Vrba and her friend Dennis Kiel will be playing guitar, Lankard will be on harmonica, and the rest of the Posse will be on percussion.

AND they are also having a group pop-up show entitled Hay Now...A Pitchfork Posse Production, set up  in a working barn.

Vrba had a widely celebrated pop-up show in New Orleans at PhotoNOLA a couple of years ago, so this one ought to be a similar blend of wit, timeliness, celebration, and exceptional photography.

Vrba says that everyone at SlowExposures should be on the lookout for "the lit-up trailer house" and come on over to join the party.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Photographers Meet-Up at the NC Museum of Art




If you are in Raleigh, NC on Friday, September 13th, this will be your lucky day.

In connection with the show Close to Home: A Decade of Acquisitions now up at the NC Museum of Art, the museum is sponsoring what it is calling "an informal evening of conversation with artists cool enough to call North Carolina home."

Photographers invited to attend include Titus Heagins (see image below), Bill Bamberger, Taj Forer, Alex Harris, Linda Foard Roberts (see image above), John Rosenthal, M.J. Sharp (see image below Titus' image), and Jeff Whetstone.


There will be other NC artists in attendance, but we are photographers and these are the folks who matter to us.


The NCMA is making an evening of the event.

Starting at 6:00 pm, there will be a food truck, then an hour of conversation with the artists, then "wine and ambiance" with Ed Stephenson and the Paco Band in the NCMA's West Building Wine Bar.

Congratulations to all these photographers who have the honor and distinction of having their work included in the permanent collection of the NC Museum of Art.

This should be a fine evening indeed. Come out and meet these folks, and see their work in the show on view in the North Carolina Gallery.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mercure, Page, and Sole in the Galleries and in the News




Some news from the world of Southern fine art photography --

Nashville, TN-based photographer Tammy Mercure (see image above) is one of four featured artists in Fraction Magazine's 54th online issue, here.


Chapel Hill, NC-based photographer Susan Harbage Page has work from her U.S.-Mexico Border Project (see image above) in a group show now up at Duke University's Nasher Museum of Art, through December 1st, 2013.

Page also has work on exhibit in a major show of images from the Bunnen Collection at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, up now through February 2nd, 2014.


Honorary Southern Photographer Magdalena Sole will have a show of work from her Mississippi Delta portfolio (see image above) opening this Friday, September 13th, with a reception from 6-8 pm, at the Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona Beach, Florida.

This show is up through December 15th, 2013.

Lots of good work here, by fine photographers, well worth your visit by internet or in the real world.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

William Eggleston at the Tate Modern in London



William Egglestson, who had a major retrospective show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC earlier this year, now has a smaller, but still very strong retrospective show up now at the Tate Modern Museum in London.

The work on offer includes images from Eggleston's portfolio of work made in Georgia the year Carter was elected president of the USA (see image above), as well as a selection of Eggleston's iconic images from his work in the American South.

ard Cella Art + Architecture presents an exhibition of photographs by noted photographer William Eggleston. Entitled William Eggleston: American Photographer, the exhibition presents a rich offering of unique and historic prints dating from 1965 through 1985 including several of Eggleston’s most iconic images. Designed to present insights into the photographer’s working methods and philosophy, the exhibition is especially timely as it runs concurrently with William Eggleston: Democratic Camera Photographs and Video, 1961-2008 presented by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and with William Eggleston: On the Road presented by dnj Gallery.

More Information: http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=11&int_new=42197#.Ui94pXfm6dw[/url]
Copyright © artdaily.org
Edward Cella Art + Architecture presents an exhibition of photographs by noted photographer William Eggleston. Entitled William Eggleston: American Photographer, the exhibition presents a rich offering of unique and historic prints dating from 1965 through 1985 including several of Eggleston’s most iconic images. Designed to present insights into the photographer’s working methods and philosophy, the exhibition is especially timely as it runs concurrently with William Eggleston: Democratic Camera Photographs and Video, 1961-2008 presented by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and with William Eggleston: On the Road presented by dnj Gallery.

More Information: http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=11&int_new=42197#.Ui94pXfm6dw[/url]
Copyright © artdaily.org
LOS ANGELES, CA.- Edward Cella Art + Architecture presents an exhibition of photographs by noted photographer William Eggleston. Entitled William Eggleston: American Photographer, the exhibition presents a rich offering of unique and historic prints dating from 1965 through 1985 including several of Eggleston’s most iconic images. Designed to present insights into the photographer’s working methods and philosophy, the exhibition is especially timely as it runs concurrently with William Eggleston: Democratic Camera Photographs and Video, 1961-2008 presented by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and with William Eggleston: On the Road presented by dnj Gallery.

More Information: http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=11&int_new=42197#.Ui94pXfm6dw[/url]
Copyright © artdaily.org
LOS ANGELES, CA.- Edward Cella Art + Architecture presents an exhibition of photographs by noted photographer William Eggleston. Entitled William Eggleston: American Photographer, the exhibition presents a rich offering of unique and historic prints dating from 1965 through 1985 including several of Eggleston’s most iconic images. Designed to present insights into the photographer’s working methods and philosophy, the exhibition is especially timely as it runs concurrently with William Eggleston: Democratic Camera Photographs and Video, 1961-2008 presented by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and with William Eggleston: On the Road presented by dnj Gallery.

More Information: http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=11&int_new=42197#.Ui94pXfm6dw[/url]
Copyright © artdaily.org
Eggleston was also recognized earlier this year as an Outstanding Contributor at the Sony World Photography Awards.

Eggleston's images are often essays in seeing, employing his uncanny ability to find just the right angle from which to transform an often highly ordinary subject into a compelling composition.

Mr. Eggleston is having a truly fine 2013.