Thursday, June 13, 2013

Interview with Kathleen Robbins on Rebekah Jacob's Blog

Columbia, SC-based photographer Kathleen Robbins has work in the current show Somewhere in the South at Rebekah Jacob's Gallery in Charleston.

Jacob did a great interview with Robbins in anticipation of this show, and you can read it on Jacob's blog, here.

You can see some images from the opening reception for Jacob's show, here, thanks to Eliot Dudik, who also has work in this show.

Along with Dudik and Robbins, the show features work by Jerry Siegel, Richard Sexton, Anne Rowland, Keliy Anderson-Staley, and the grand masters William Eggleston and William Christenberry.

Look3 Festival Off and Running, and You Can Be Part of It

The Look3 Festival of the Photograph for 2013 is off and running in Charlottesville, VA, now through June 15th.

Its not too late to get up to Charlottesville, but if you can't make it, you can participate in at least some of the festivities from whereever you are.

This is because Look3 is streaming via live video the major talks of this year's festival. Go to their website here to check it out, and to watch all the streams of images coming out of the Festival.

Already streamed and posted for later viewing is Tim Layman's talk Survival of the Sexiest about photographing wild and exotic birds.

Upcoming are talks by Carrie Mae Weems and Deborah Willis at 7:00 tonight, then Richard Misrach and Alex Chadwick at 10 am the morning of the 14th and Susan Meiselas and David Levi Strauss at 11:45 on the morning of the 14th.

There is much to celebrate here, and much to enjoy and to learn from.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

More News of Southern Photography -- Spring 2013

Some news from here and there --

Jennifer Schwartz, the Atlanta-based gallery owner who has been touring the country in her blue VW bus, has also been spending time in Oregon with the folks at Photo Lucida who run the Critical Mass jurying process.

She has been reporting in on some folks she finds especially strong, and you can meet them on Schwartz' blog, here.

Honorary Southern photographer Magdalena Solé has one of her Mississippi Delta photographs in view now at the Leica Gallery New York as part of their exhibition A Gathering of Images that includes work by 62 seriously heavy-duty shooters like Bruce Davidson, Elliot Erwitt, and Mary Ellen Mark.

Good to see Solé have work -- and from her Mississippi Delta portfolio -- in this august company.

The latest photographers of the South to be featured on Jeff Rich's Eyes on the South feature on the Oxford American website include the following:

Tammy Mercure

Ashley Jones

The Lens Scratch blog right now is featuring Johnson City, TN-based photographer Daniel Jones, who shows remarkable maturity of vision for a shooter of 22. 

And speaking of Lens Scratch, right now I'm enjoying sharing some electronic space with Donna Rosser (see image below) and a lot of other Southern photographers who were drawn as a moth to a flame to the Backyard open show sponsored by Lens Scratch.

There is work here from literally all over the world, but I sure counted a bunch from the American South, not a mystery, given the theme of the show

And finally, some of you might want to know about the Southern Documentary Fund, a non profit group based in Durham, NC,  "that cultivates documentaries made in or about the American South."

Books of Southern Photography, Forthcoming in 2013

Several notable books on the South featuring work by major photographers, Southern and otherwise, are just out or due out in the next few months.

We've already mentioned Rebekah Jacob's forthcoming Controversy and Hope: The Civil Rights Photographs of James Karales, about which there is a lot more on Jacob's blog, here.

This book is due to be released any day now, and when it is we will do a blog entry on it. In the meantime, there is a portfolio of Karales' photographs on the New York Times Lens blog, here.

Also looking toward the Southern past, the collaborative work by James Agee and Walker Evans called Let Us Now Praise Famous Men is absolutely central to the history of photography in the American South.

Walker Evans' images (see examples, above), together with Agee's prose, not only document Southern working class life during the Great Depression  but also establish a look, a style, an approach, and a subject matter for one kind of Southern photography.

Now, Agee's first effort to write about the South -- a 30, 000 word essay originally intended for publication in Fortune magazine but never actually brought out -- will appear in book form as Cotton Tenants: Three Families, from Melville House.

Evans' iconic photographs also accompany this new look at Agee's attempt to see clearly the experience of people in poverty in Alabama in the mid-1930's.

You can learn more about the book from a story in today's New York Times, here, and see a portfolio of Evans' work, on their Lens Blog, here.

Moving from the South of the past to the South of the present, two books are coming out this fall from the University of North Carolina Press that feature the work of North Carolina photographers.

The distinguished Durham, NC-based photographer Titus Brooks Heagins has for a long time been documenting jazz, blues, and folk musicians of eastern North Carolina (see image above).

Now, his photographs will grace the pages of the new guide to The African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina, with text by Sarah Bryan and Beverly Patterson.

This book is being billed as a "travel guide" for "a fascinating journey to music venues, events, and museums that illuminate the lives of the musicians and reveal the deep ties between music and community.

"Interviews with more than 90 artists open doors to a world of music, especially jazz, rhythm and blues, funk, gospel and church music, blues, rap, marching band music, and beach music."

Heagins' images are stunning, vibrant, powerful witnesses to the richness of North Carolina's heritage and vitality as a center of music and the birthplace of important musicians. 

Also, this fall, the UNC Press is publishing Raleigh, NC-based photographer Lawrence Earley's  The Work Boats of Core Sound: Stories and Photographs of a Changing World.

Earley's subject in this book is the distinctive culture of eastern North Carolina's fishing industry.

The combination of the Atlantic Ocean, the barrier islands, and the shallow sounds that define North Carolina's eastern boundary has given rise to a distinctive coastal culture of fishing and boat building.

Earley here documents -- in elegantly seen and powerfully rendered images -- the world of coastal North Carolina watermen through iconic images of their boats, mostly hand-made, mostly traditional in design.

You can find a portfolio of Earley's images from this portfolio, here.

Earley combines his images with accounts of the watermen themselves, who remind us that traditions change as conditions the evoke traditional practices also change.  Just as we are getting to a deeper understanding of the culture of coastal life, the combination of depleted fish stocks and the expansion of tourism in eastern North Carolina is threatening its continued existence.

So, in Earley's work there is both a celebratory and an elegiac quality. You can get a flavor of what he is about in an essay on the UNC Press's website, here.

With engagement comes awareness and connection, if not understanding. In all these books we have much to look forward to.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Anderson Scott -- Whistling Dixie Update

Atlanta-based photographer Anderson Scott continues to get good reviews and wide notice for his book Whistling Dixie.

His work has also now been the subject of feature stories in Le Journal de la Photographie, Slate, and Wired.

The comments being added to the Wired piece are themselves worth a read. They provide clear proof that the history of the Civil War is not yet over.

Mike Smith, author of You’re Not From Around Here: Photographs from East Tennessee, gets to what makes this book so haunting and so powerful. 

He writes,“Anderson Scott repeatedly demonstrates that he knows more than what the script offers and he provides insight to the viewer on a much larger scale than just what the events suggest.

"The authority of the photographer’s vision—his personal point of view—convince us that he got it right.”