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.