Tuesday, January 22, 2013

1:1000 Celebrates Two Years of Southern Photography

The good folks at One One Thousand (1:1000), the online magazine of Southern Photography, are justly proud of their well-deserved success in completing their first two years of  providing fine work by Southern photographers.

They are celebrating with a double issue featuring work by 4 photographers chosen after a rigorous screening process.

The four photographers they've selected -- Lisa Elmaleh, Dawn Roe, Deb Schwedhelm, and Susan Worsham
  -- cover a wide range of subject matter and technique in their photography, from tintype photography of traditional musicians to digital color photographs of contemporary Southern suburbia.

All of this work, however, deals with human experience of the past, or the present in relationship to the past, a personal past, a past that both enables and burdens, a past one seeks to preserve, or get rid of, or come to terms with, or make meaning from, in other words, photographs from the heart of the Southern photographic enterprise.

Brooklyn-based photographer Lisa Elmaleh uses a traditional photographic practice -- tintype -- to document some current practitioners of traditional American music. Here, with a nice play on words, she offers images from her American Folk portfolio.

She's found these folks in Southern Appalachia, playing as she says, "on porches, at dances, at festivals, and in church meetings. The melodies are oft times simple, and the lyrics often resonate with the stories of life: love, hard labor, slavery, farming, tragedies, death, and god. The songs are passed down from generation to generation."

Elmaleh utilizes "an on-site darkroom and a large format antiquated camera."

"Because of the nature of [her] process, typically, a whole day is spent with each subject – each 8x10 tintype is hand coated, exposed in a large format camera, and developed on site in a darkroom in the back of my pickup truck."

So, for Elmaleh, "The tradition of American music echoes in the historic nature of the tintype photographic process."

Asheville- and Winter Park, Florida-based photographer Dawn Roe has images from her No One Was With Her When She Died  portfolio, images, she says, "were made in reaction and response to my daily surroundings within and throughout the home, studio and landscape."

These are haunting images, images in which the same object is seen more than once, and from different angles, and under different conditions of lighting, focus, or composition.

Roe says that they "serve as recordings of my efforts to make visible perceptual inconsistencies between experienced and recorded time.

"Trees, weeds and leaves along with dew, sparkles, plastic and glass are the materials at play within these fixated non-moments, where only a peripheral glimpse is captured within an endless optical flow.

"These scenes sit empty and alone. I sometimes lament that we cannot “know” things in time, but only through recollection, which can be temporally very near or very far.

 "And so, I look through and to the camera as both device and mechanism for perceiving and being in space and time."

Dawn also has some interesting things to say about Robert Frank, here. 

Tampa-based photographer Deb Schwedhelm offers images from her Whispers from the Sea  portfolio, images that offer strikingly different angles of vision and perspectives on her subjects, all seen from the water.

Schwedhelm started photographing from the water in a pool, but soon moved to the open sea, where she finds that "Photographing in the water is an intimate yet freeing process – one of letting go, looking inward and trusting."

Working from the water, she attends to ways in which the "life we live today is powerfully influenced and shaped by past experiences."

For her, these experiences include "an unconventional childhood (which I have very little recollection of), my 10 years of military service, my career as a registered nurse, my evolution as a photographer and my experiences as a mother."

"These things culminate, visually, in a complex and evocative mix of photographs in my portfolio, which often explores themes such as childhood identity and human experience."

So, "Whispers from the Sea is an exploration of contrasts – from stormy, deep and challenging to tranquil, buoyant and unencumbered. I believe that within these juxtapositions lies the narrative of life.

This series is about feeling, exploration and discovery. It is an effort to conjure up and expose what one might have locked deep down inside"

Richmond-based photographer Susan Worsham   is represented here by images from her Bittersweet On Bostwick Lane portfolio, itself a selection from her larger body of work Some Fox Trails In Virginia.

This body of work grows out of deep personal loss, the death in just a few years of Worsham's father, brother (by suicide), and mother.

This work also grows out of Worsham's relationship with her neighbor Margaret Daniel, a biology teacher and old friend of the family.  Worsham remembers that Daniel "is one of the last remaining threads from my childhood and was the last person to see my brother alive. She made Russell her homemade bread and he finished the whole loaf before he shot himself." 

So these images are about memory and loss and about transitions and relationships of long standing, and about serendipity, the serendipity of Worsham's finding "a set of antique veterinary slides" shortly after her mother died. 

"They were some of the most interesting things that I had ever seen," Worsham says. "They seemed to hold beauty and death at the same time. I framed 90 of them in a long wooden frame resembling the shape of the slide itself. It was the first piece of art that I made after my mother died." 

This work led her to photograph her "old childhood home as well as my oldest neighbor, Margaret."

And so, in good Southern fashion, Worsham says, "the story came full circle one day when Margaret brought out her own dissection kit and microscope slides. I had forgotten that she had been a biology teacher, and here she was holding the same sort of slides that I was so fascinated by. 

"Margaret's microscope and slides have since become a metaphor for my own desire to look deeper into the landscape of my childhood. From the flora and fauna to the feelings, Margaret calls it "blood work."

There is lots of blood in Southern history, blood that was shed, the blood  of family ties, blood that is good blood or bad blood. Worsham's is one, creative, helpful way of dealing with it.

There is much fine work here to joy in, and to get lost in. The folks at One One Thousand have much to feel celebratory about.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations! This is the best thing, Thank you so much for taking the time to share this exciting information.
    Barnyard Photography