Friday, January 11, 2013

Collections, Part One -- The Visual South

Lists, collections,  results, outcomes are all important in the art world because they provide a status report on what is seen as valuable, who is seen as doing important work, at a particular time and from the perspective of a particular individual or group or audience. 

This is the first of several reports on outcomes, on lists, on occasions of choice that have happened lately in the world of Southern fine art photography.  We'll see what we can make of them as we go along.

The first list is an outgrowth of another list, the list of  100 under 100: The New Superstars of Southern Art, published by The Oxford American last spring. 

That list included 30 photographers among the list of 100 artists, which led to another list, this time produced by the folks at NPR, as part of their Picture Show blog, in a feature called The Visual South.

The Visual South, in a way built on another, very thoughtful piece that NPR did in the Picture Show blog, last January, on Kathleen Robbins and her portfolio In Cotton, here. 

So, having done that piece,and working with the folks at The Oxford American, NPR chose 5 of the 30 Southern photographers on the 100 under 100 list and devoted a piece to each of them, one a day, for a week in May of 2012.

First up was Christopher Sims, for his portfolio of work made at the American prison at Guantanamo Bay.

The Visual South, Part I: Unseen Scenes Of Guantanamo

 Second was Frank Hamrick, for his portfolio A Letter Never Sent, which somehow turned into a piece on chicken, and how a chicken is like a photograph.

The Visual South, Part II: Photography Is Like Chicken

Third was Tammy Mercure, for her portfolio of work on the culture of tourism in Tennessee.

The Visual South, Part III: Tourist Towns

Fourth was  Brandon Thibodeaux for his portfolio of work made in the Mississippi Delta.

The Visual South, Part IV: Getting Lost In Mississippi

Fifth was Susan Worsham, for her portfolio of work made in Richmond and featuring her neighbor Margaret Daniels.

The Visual South, Part V: Personal Portraits

This is all fine work.  NPR made fine choices among a larger list of fine choices.

NPR has continued to pay attention to photography in the South with an ongoing series of pieces on their Picture Show blog, including John Lusk Hathaway's documentary piece on Christmas tree farms in Tennessee, Alex Harris's work in Mobile, Alabama, and distinguished American photographer Eugene Richards' work in the Mississippi Delta.

Because of its frequent attention to Southern photographers and to the South as a subject for photography, I'm adding NPR's Picture Show blog to the list of sites I consult on a regular basis, and I'll keep you posted about what they have on offer.

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