Sometimes, the search for new work in Southern photography takes me far from home. But sometimes, with help from my friends, I find it right around the corner.
My friend Raleigh-based photographer David Simonton introduced me this week the work of Adam Bellefeuil (see images above and below).
Bellefeuil is a Raleigh-based photographer who, like Simonton, likes to photograph in small North Carolina towns and rural areas, and especially, but not exclusively, after dark.
That's a good time and place to be when one's goal is to get a sense into one's work both of the timelessness and of the constantly changing character of Southern landscape.
Bellefeuil, whose work has also been featured in the ezine BOOOOOOOM, here, is certainly a Southern Photographer We Are Getting to Know.
The same day I was introduced to the work of Bellefeuil, I was also introduced to the work of Ken Abbott (see image directly above, and also below) by his friend Belle Boggs, who is also my colleague at NC State.
Abbott is an Asheville, NC-based photographer who has just published a book Useful Work: Photographs of Hickory Nut Gap Farm, available here or you know where.
Abbot's images from this portfolio have been featured recently on the Ain't Bad photo blog, here.
Abbott has been working on this project for over a decade. His subject is Hickory Nut Gap Farm, in existence for over a hundred and fifty years, near Asheville in Western North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains.
Hickory Nut Gap Farm was once known as Sherrill’s Inn, and in the late 1800s it was a busy stagecoach stop on an old trade route out of the southern Appalachian Mountains.
Since then, it has been at various times a religious community and a working farm, and it continues to be a vibrant part of Appalachian life.
Alex Harris,of Duke University's Center for Documentary Studies, describes Abbott's work as "a marriage made in heaven, or about as close as we get to heaven here in the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina.
"In Useful Work, Ken Abbott so thoroughly and beautifully depicts the surface and soul of this home and farm, that he reminds us how the best photographers can focus on something seemingly small, yet evoke our common humanity.
"This book represents an extraordinary achievement in life and in art."
All true, that, and congratulations to Abbott, and to Bellefeuil, for adding to the illustrious history of photography in and of North Carolina, in the American South.