Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Transitions -- Fall 2017

 CfA madmimi 2

Fall is a time for transitions. As the song goes, it's time for us to pause and watch the seasons turn.

In that spirit, we notice that Jennifer Yoffy Schwartz has announced the end of her Crusade for Art. 

Schwartz' campaign to develop new opportunities for artists to connect with new audiences and find markets for their work grew out of her experience running a really fine photography gallery in Atlanta. 

You can read more about the programs she started and the adventures she had on this journey by going here.

We thank Schwartz for her efforts and look forward to learning where the road of life next takes her. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Southern Photography Festivals -- Late Fall 2017


The days are getting shorter, the weather is getting cooler, and across the South we are gearing up for the second round of fall photography festivals.

FotoWeekDC is only a few weeks away, now, running from November 11th-19th, 2017 in Our Nation's Capitol

You can find the full schedule of events on their website, go here.

 December will bring us PhotoNOLA, this year running from December 7th-10th, 2017. 

For the full calendar of events for this year's festival, go here.

An annual feature of PhotoNOLA is the show at the New Orleans Photo Alliance of the previous year's winner of the PhotoNOLA Review Prize, which for 2016 was Samantha Geballe (see image above). 

Looking ahead, winter 2018 brings us another edition of FOTOFEST, Houston's biennial photography festival, to be held March 10 - April 22, 2018.

For the schedule for this year's FOTOFEST 2018 Biennial, go here.

So much to see, and to celebrate, in the world of Southern photography! 

Friday, October 27, 2017

SlowExposures 2017 -- A Pastoral

Once a year, the communities in Pike County, Georgia become the center of the universe for Southern fine art photography. 

Suddenly, renovated warehouses and storefronts become art galleries, stuffed with photographs and photographers. 

Photographers and photography fans from across the South, and across the nation, flock to see the work, and to renew friendships, and meet new friends.

This all happens because of SlowExposures, the annual festival of Southern photography, which took place this year in Pike County, on September the 14th through the 17th, 2017. 

Arnika Dawkins and I had the privilege of jurying this year's Main Show at SlowExposures.

We started with over 850 images, with the challenge of getting the collection of images down to 75. 

The overall quality of the images submitted was very high. We could easily have chosen a show double the size of the one we had to choose without diminishing the overall quality of the show. 

As I said at the Jurors' Talk in Concord, I wanted at a minimum to have our show reflect the breadth and diversity of Southern rural and small town life. I wanted, at a minimum, to avoid overworked subjects and sentimental or nostalgic treatments.

Arnika had her own goals and interests, but we must have shared a good bit of common ground, because the process of making our choices for the Main Show proceeded with remarkable smoothness. 

When Arnika and I got to Strickland's in Concord, site of the Main Show at SlowEx, on the morning of the 14th, we had the challenge of selecting the top images out of our final 76 selections for the Man Show.

This was even more difficult than making our original selections. But,gradually, as we discussed our choices, Brandon Thibodeaux's image Choo Choo with his Bible (see first image above) emerged as our first place entry, receiving the Paul Conlan Prize.

Second place went to M. L. Miller's Window Gazers (see image just above). 

Third Place went to Dale Niles' image Pardon? (see image above), which also received the People's Choice Award, based on voting by guests at the show.

We also chose ten Honorable Mentions, and you can see their work if you go here to the SlowEx website. 

There was so much else going on in Pike County that weekend -- the satellite shows, and the pop-up shows, and the receptions and dinners.

Watch for more coverage of this year's SlowEx as time goes by, here, on The Southern Photographer!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Southern Photographers in the News -- Mid-Fall 2017

Honorary Southern Photographer Dawoud Bey (see image above) has been named the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. 

For more on Bey's career and his genius award, go here for the Chicago Tribune story, and here, for the Washington Post story.  

Greensboro-based artist Rhiannon Giddens also received a MacArthur Fellowship, but she's a musician, not a photographer. 

Former Lexington, VA photographer and gallery owner -- and now Gallery Director at Panopticon Gallery,in Boston, MA -- Kat Kiernan (see her to the right in the image above) has been profiled on Elin Spring's blog, go here

Kiernan has opened her first show at the Panopticon Gallery, which includes work by Raleigh-based photographer Diana Bloomfield (see image above) go here.

Bloomfield will be part of a two-person show with Amy Friend -- at Panopticon, entitled  Alchemists, go here. 

This show opens November 3rd and is up in Boston until December 30, 2017.

Nashville-based photographer Tamara Reynolds (see image above) has had work from her The Drake portfolio featured on the fotoroom blog, go here

Distinguished Southern Photographer William Eggleston (see image above by NY Times photographer Andrea Morales) continues to be noticed for his his expansion of his artistic media to include composing and performing music, go here

More to come on the Southern Photographer! 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Southern Photographers on the Fence in Durham

An installation of THE FENCE is now up in Durham, NC, as part of the CLICK! Triangle Photography Festival. 

You can see it on the fence across from Durham's City Hall, in downtown Durham, through November of 2017.

Local photographers with work on the FENCE include the following:
Bryce Lankard | Drawn to Water,   
Chris Ogden | Stones Echo 
Gesche Würfel | SE Raleigh
Joe Lipka | The Labyrinth 
Leah Sobsey | Collections 
Marthanna Yater | Growing Together: A Study of Twin Sisters Over 32 Years 
Sarah Dale | It Brings All Things They Say 
Shawn Rocco | Flickerland (Series II) 
Warren Hicks | Urban Display

Much more to see in the Triangle through October, all part of CLICK!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

A Celebration of Southern Photography at Southern Miss

Folks at the University of Southern Mississippi, in Hattiesburg, are celebrating Southern photography in a big way this October.

The Celebration includes two shows. 

The first, opening in the university's Gammill Gallery on Tuesday, October 10th, 2017, is Portraits of Southerners: Photographs from The Do Good Fund, up through Nov. 3rd, 2017.

The second, entitled Mississippi Landscapes: Places in the Land, opens in the Cook Library Art Gallery on October 12th and will be up through December 15th, 2017. 

This show features images by Mississippi photographers  Ashleigh Coleman Thomas Pearson, Euphus Ruth, David Wharton, Brooke White, and Malcolm White. 

Their work in this show is featured in a new book also entitled Places in the Land, to be available at this show. 

There will also be a special issue of The Southern Quarterly, the university's journal of Southern arts and culture, to mark the occasion, go here.  to mark this occasion.

In conjunction with these shows, distinguished Southern folklorist Dr. William R. Ferris will give a talk entitled “The South in Color: A Visual Journey,” on October 12th at 6 pm in Gonzales Auditorium. 

Ferris is a photographer and film maker and an expert in Southern studies, African American music, and folklore, who serves as the Joel R. Williamson Eminent Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Ferris co-edited the massive Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His most recent book, The South in Color: A Visual Journal, was published in 2016 by the University of North Carolina Press. 

Ferris’s films include “Mississippi Blues,” which was featured at the Cannes Film Festival. He has produced numerous sound recordings and hosted “Highway 61,” a weekly blues program on Mississippi Public Radio, for nearly a decade.

This sounds like a splendid series of events.  I can't make it, and I'm hoping someone who does will send me a full report.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Southern Photographers in the News -- Early Fall 2017

New Orleans-based photographer Deborah Luster (see image above) is one of 25 American artists to be awarded an Art of Change fellowship by the Ford Foundation.

The Art of Change fellowships "support visionary artists and cultural leaders in creating powerful works of art that help advance freedom, justice, and inclusion, and strengthen our democracy." 

Winston-Salem, NC-based photographer Aaron Canipe (see image above) has joined artists Diego Camposeco, Jing Niu, and Jina Valentine in a group show of work now up at the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park, NC, through the fall of 2017. 

The show is called “Melt with Ruth”: Visions of Home and Horizon in North Carolina, and, according to the folks at the Center, seeks to explore "notions of home, identity, geography, and sense of place in North Carolina." 

Pawley's Island, SC-based photographer Jeff Rich (see image above) has published his second book of photographs of Southern rivers, this one entitled Watershed: The Tennessee River, now out from Fall Line Press, go here.

Congratulations to all these fine shooters!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Click! begins in NC's Research Triangle

In my part of the South -- North Carolina's Research Triangle area -- the big photography event of the year is the CLICK! Triangle Photography Festival, which comes to us every October.

This is the sixth annual CLICK! Events take place across the Triangle, including Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. 

And it's going on right now. For a preview of what's happening, check out this piece from Lenscratch, featuring Chapel Hill-based photographer Lori Vrba, interviewed by Aline Smithson

  For a full list of events, dates, and locations, go to the CLICK! website, here.

Brandon Thibodeaux is Having a Great 2017, and it's only October

Dallas-based photographer Brandon Thibodeaux (see image above) is definitely having a moment in his career as a Southern photographer. 

So much good stuff has been happening in Thibodeaux's professional life lately that I will probably miss something, but these things I know: 

Thibodeaux's book In that Land of Perfect Day is now available from Red Hook Editions, go here

His image from that body of work -- Choo Choo and His Bible, Alligator, MS, 2012 (see image above) -- was chosen as winner of the Paul Conlan Prize at the recent Slow Exposures Photography Festival in Concord, GA.

As a result, Thibodeaux will have a solo show of his work at next year's SlowEx Festival, coming up before you know it on September 20-23, 2018.

Thibodeaux and his work have also been the subject of a feature story in the Washington Post, go here. 

As well recognition as by Jeff Rich in his Eyes on the South series for the Oxford American, go here

He has also been profiled on the Its Nice That blog, go here.

And there may be even more to celebrate for Thibodeaux; will try to keep you posted. After all, it's only October.

Congratulations to Thibodeaux on all his accomplishments and recognitions. Well-deserved!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

UPDATED -- William Eggleston at the Piano

Honored Southern Photographer William Eggleston (see image above by NY Times photographer Peter Townsend) has, according to the NY Times, taken up the piano and has released an album of standards and original compositions.

Eggleston's album, entitled Musik, will be on the Secretly Canadian label, to be officially released October 20th, 2017.

According to the folks at Secretly Canadian, Eggleston recorded improvisations onto floppy disks and used a four-track sequencer to overlay parts and create fuller symphonic compositions. 

In addition to Eggleston's own music, the album includes standards by Gilbert and Sullivan and Lerner and Loewe. 

Again, according to the folks at Secretly Canadian, Eggleston "often says that he feels that music is his first calling, as much a part of him, at least, as his photography."

Good to know that Eggleston continues to explore his creative spirit. 

You can learn more about the album here. You can preorder the album here. 

The New Yorker has a feature story, here

This album is sure to wind up on many Southern photographers' holiday gift lists.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

New Books by Southern Photographers -- Early Fall 2017

A couple of new books of photographs out now from Southern photographers --

Atlanta-based photographer Jerry Siegel (see image above) has published Black Belt Color, from the Georgia Museum of Art, available here, from the usual source.

This book contains photographs from Siegel's 20 years of photographing in and around Selma, Alabama, his home town. 

The Spaulding Nix Gallery in Atlanta has a show of Siegel's work from this portfolio up now through November 4th, 2017.

You can learn more about Siegel's book here, from The Bitter Southerner.

Dallas-based photographer Brandon Thibodeaux (see image above) has published his first monograph, In That Land of Perfect Day, from Red Hook Editions

Thibodeaux' publisher describes the work as presenting "tales of strength against struggle, humility amidst pride, and promise for deliverance in the lives he has come to know" in eight years of roaming "through a forty-square mile area in the Mississippi Delta, learning about the region’s history and the contemporary experience of its residents."

They go on: "His photographs depict the rural African American experience in a universal quest for faith, perseverance, and solace through community."

Congratulations to Siegel and to Thibodeaux for their success with this fine work from deep in the South.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Southern Journals in the NY Times

The New York Times is featuring today a story about Southern publications that, each in its own way, seek to engage the issues presented by Southern culture, especially at the present time. 

The story is entitled In Southern Magazines, Easy Pleasures and Hard Questions, go here.

The piece is by Richard Fausset, who is the Times' corespondent in Atlanta. 

He focuses on this question: "How much to sing the song of the South, especially amid genuine evidence of racial progress, and how much to be a skeptical voice in a place where issues of race and class often shadow conversations about even the most innocent pleasures?"
These issues are -- or certainly ought to be -- of concern to Southern photographers, especially now, in this season of Trump and Charlottesville, as we try to make sense or at least meaning out of the unfolding events of our time. 

And also because the publications that Fausset cites use a whole lot of photographs.

Fausset focuses primarily on 3 publications -- Atlanta's The Bitter Southerner, Durham's Scalawag, and Charleston's Garden and Gun

Southern Living does get a mention. Other regional and often university-based publications like UNC-Chapel Hill's Southern Cultures and the University of Mississippi's (though now the University of Central Arkansas's) Oxford American rate only the briefest of mentions.  

The good news is that the editors of these publications -- the ones whom Fausset quotes -- are, on the whole, optimistic.

Fausset quotes Alysia Nicole Harris, 29, an African-American who grew up in Virginia and is an editor in chief of Scalawag to the effect that “The South is not this homogeneous place — it has a deep history, a really full history, and one that’s not just for the upper class. 

"The demographics are changing," Harris says. "And ultimately, we believe that the South is going to be the voice that emerges to lead this conversation about trauma and healing, because here is where the trauma was the thickest.”

But The Bitter Southerner, and its editor Chuck Reece, receive the lion's share of Fausset's attention. And richly deserved attention it is, as I suspect anyone who spends time on The Bitter Southerner's website will agree. 

Fausset tells the story of The Bitter Southerner, describing Reece as "a white voice, simultaneously proud and conscience-stricken, screaming to be heard over the stock-car roar but always cognizant that there are other voices, in other flavors, that may deserve a hearing even more."

In their interview, Reece remembers his founding vision for the publication:

"If you are a person who buys the states’ rights argument … or you fly the rebel flag in your front yard … or you still think women look really nice in hoop skirts, we politely suggest you find other amusements on the web. The Bitter Southerner is not for you.

The Bitter Southerner is for the rest of us. It is about the South that the rest of us know: the one we live in today and the one we hope to create in the future.”

Fair enough -- although as I read these remarks, I am reminded of bygone days, and bygone hopes that have not panned out as we expected. 

I am a child of the Jim Crow South, the South of the 1950's and '60's, the segregated South, when young Southerners lived in two different worlds. 

Whatever we shared, we shared it across the barriers that divided our worlds. 

One vehicle for sharing was WLAC, the radio station out of Nashville that, at night, you could hear across the South, even in my room in North Carolina, bringing us the music of Big Mama Thornton, Hank Ballard, Ruth Brown, and Billy Ward and the Dominos, so that for me and my friends rhythm and blues became the music of our youth.

So we were ready for Motown, and the music out of Muscle Shoals, and out of Memphis (and by Memphis, I don't mean Elvis, that Mississippi cracker who got rich making crossover recordings of music by black artists like Big Mama Thornton). 

Writing today, I am aware that, as Reece says of okra and gumbo, and by extension so much of Southern culture, "you can't [as a white person] write a story about how wonderful a thing [these gifts are] without acknowledging that [they are] undeserved gifts." 

This was a gift some of us tried to pay back by supporting, as best we could, the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's. 

And, if you had told me in 1966, as my fraternity at UNC welcomed people of color into our merry band, or if you had told me, in 1972, when the public schools in my home county dismantled the segregated school system that I attended -- and did it peacefully, when the city of Boston was tearing itself apart trying to do the same thing -- that in 2017 we would have white supremacists helping to elect the president of the United States, and have a mob of Confederate flag-waving demonstrators desecrating the grounds of the University of Virginia, I would have told you that you were crazy, that a new day was dawning, that black folks and white folks were standing up together to redeem Southern history and make a new day.

In some ways, that happened. But in other ways, it didn't. In painful ways, it didn't. As the events in Charlottesville demonstrate so clearly. 

But heartbreak and disappointment are as much a part of the Southern experience as anything else. And so we persevere, even though Southern fear, and suspicion, and bigotry also persist. 

And we keep hoping tor a better day, although far too many of our white relatives persist in following the darkest impulses of our racist past.

Friday, September 1, 2017

More News of Southern Photographers -- Late Summer 2017

Kat Kiernan, formerly owner of a photography gallery in Lexington, VA, and still editor of the magazine Don’t Take Pictures, has now become Director of Panopticon Gallery, on Commonwealth Avenue, in Boston, MA.

Her first show as Director of the Gallery is a group show entitled At Sea, go here.

Among the work included in this show is a set of tricolor gum prints by Raleigh-based photographer Diana Bloomfield (see image above). 

Chapel Hill-based photographer Susan Harbage Page (see image above) is opening a show of her photographs taken in the Italian town of Spello, go here. 

The show is part of Spello FotoFest 2017.  

It occurs to me that Page and Betty Press, who also summers in Italy, should get together. Seems to me, they have a lot to talk about, as Southern photographers as well as photographers of Italy.  

Earlier this year, TIME magazine assembled a distinguished panel of folks who then chose 12 African American Photographers You Should Follow Right Now, go here.

Among the 12 are the following Southern photographers:
Winston-Salem-based photographer Endia Beal (see image above).

Also Atlanta-based photographer Joshua Rashaad McFadden (see image above).

Also, Atlanta-born but NYC-based photographer Shamayim (see image above).

Also, Baltimore-based photographer Michael McCoy (see image above). 

Also, New Orleans-based photographer Chandra McCormick (see image above). 

McCormick works in New Orleans with her husband Keith Calhoun (see image above), another fine Southern photographer. 

Congratulations to all these fine photographers! 

More later, from the Southern Photographer.   

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

More Southern Photographers on the FENCE

Several other Southern photographers have had their work selected for use in the FENCE project, in various places across the country.

Among them are the following, including Charlottesville-based photographer Matt Eich (see image above).

Also, Chapel Hill-based photographer Leah Sobsey (see image above). 

I am honored to say that most of what I know about photography I learned from Sobsey, at the Center for Documentary Studies, in Durham.

Also, Durham-based photographer Shawn Rocco (see image above).

Also, Durham-based photographer Bryce Lankard (see image above).

Also, Chapel Hill-based photographer Gesche Wurfel (see image above). 

Also, Durham-based photographer Marthanna Yater (see image above).

Also, Chapel Hill-based photographer Warren Hicks (see image above). 

Also, Atlanta-based photographer Joshua Rashaad McFadden (see image above). 

Also, Durham-based photographer Chris Ogden (see image above). 

Congratulations to all these folks! Watch for their work on a fence near you. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

News of Southern Photographers, UPDATED -- Late Summer, 2017

We will update this blog entry as more news comes in. But for no, we have the following items:

Durham-based photographer Chris Sims (see image above) has been working for some time on his portfolio Theater of War, documenting the pretend villages of Iraq and Afghanistan that one finds on some military bases in the American South.

Sims' work is now  featured on the Atlas Obscura website, go here

Charleston's Rebekah Jacob Gallery has recently been the subject of a feature story in Charleston's City Paper, go here.

There is an update on this story, from the City Paper, go here.

Savannah-based photographer Emily Earl (see image above) has been chosen by the Atlanta Photography Group to receive the annual $2500 APG/High Museum of Art Purchase Award. 

As a result, seven pieces from Earl’s portfolio Late Night Polaroids will be added to the permanent collection of photography at the High Museum.