Hattiesburg, MS-based photographer Betty Press is having an outstanding 2014.
Press is one of eight Southern photographers selected by juror Richard McCabe, Curator of Photography at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, for inclusion in this year's edition of the annual Atlanta Photography Group's Portfolio Show, now up at the APG Galleries through February 1st, 2015.
Press has also recently been the featured photographer on the Lenscratch blog, here, also featured twice on the Creek Royalty blog, here and here, and in the Eyes on the South, here.
She has had work in the SlowExposures show, the Ain't Bad Magazine show at the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, GA, the Cedars Juried Show in Jackson, MS, and the Plastic Camera show in San Francisco.
Press brings to her work in Mississippi the experience of having lived and photographed in Africa for many years, resulting in a book published in 2011 entitled I Am Because We Are.
So Press went from photographing in Africa to photographing in the Mississippi Delta, one of the major centers for the people and culture of the African diaspora.
Press says she never expected to be living and working in Mississippi, but that she brings "a singular perspective to portraying the Southern experience, black and white, which is so intertwined, and keeps the South a unique region in our country."
After several years of living in Mississippi but not feeling fully at home there, Press says she set out "to deal with the uneasiness by exploring the state, still largely rural and agricultural, through a series of road trips."
Her work "reveals a slightly surreal, hidden narrative of Mississippi’s landscape and the indomitable spirit of the people—sometimes fanciful, humorous, quirky, mysterious, and at times disturbing."
I had the great good fortune to meet Press at the ACP Portfolio Review this past October.
Her work stood out as exceptionally well-seen and well-recorded, especially through her use of toy and plastic cameras, whose distortions, vignetting, and irregularities of focus help Press to engage our attention, drawing us in to recognize and appreciate the details of lives we take for granted or find too ordinary to appreciate.
Press does fine work. Its good to see her get the kinds of recognition she so richly deserves.
For the record, the list of those in the Portfolio Show in Atlanta also includes Dennis Church, whom we devoted a blog entry to when his work appeared in Eyes on the South, as well as Justin Andre Cordova, Teri Darnell, Laura Noel, Lissette Schaeffler, Jerry Siegel, and Laine Wyatt.