Thursday, June 29, 2017

Timothy Duffy and the Blues

Durham, NC-based photographer Timothy Duffy (see images above and below) has recently been featured on the NY Times LENS blog for his tintype photographs of American Blues and Roots musicians.

The folks Duffy has photographed are musicians Duffy has met through his work over the past 25 years with the Music Maker Relief Foundation, an organization Duffy founded, in his words, "to preserve the musical traditions of the South."

The Music Maker Relief Foundation does this "by directly supporting the musicians who make [the music of the South], ensuring their voices will not be silenced by poverty and time. 

By helping these musicians, "the foundation has also preserved the work of these musicians, who are the living history of American music’s foundation.

"Music Maker will give future generations access to their heritage through documentation and performance programs that build knowledge and appreciation of America’s musical traditions."

You can find a full list of musicians involved with Music Maker Relief Foundation here.

You can also schedule a performance by one of these musicians here. Or find out about a performance near you, here

One way to combine interests in music and photography might be to buy a copy of Duffy's new book BLUE, available through 21st Editions, here.

Each copy of this limited edition book includes 18 signed platinum prints as well as an original tintype wrapped in indigo silk.  The book is also signed by the artist, the publisher, the editor, and the artisans who created it. 

really a hand-held exhibition of almost 150 years of music history reflected in the faces, instruments and body language of the men and women in its pages." 

Porter goes on, "Turning the pages of “Blue” is to turn those of a history rarely told and one to which modern American music owes nearly every note"

Porter notes that Duffy is aware of issues his work brings up, since, Porter says, "Duffy said a lot of 'white outsiders' like him have visited or spent time with different cultures, but he believes if you look at their work “you can see the baggage that they bring in,” and the end result can feel like a caricature. 

Duffy "mused that he might have some elements of that too, but is aware of the danger and tries as much as possible to disappear from the process.

“How as an artist can I honor this experience and get people to feel and get a sense of what I look at?” Mr. Duffy said. “When I see them, this is what I see.” 

This is important work, worthy of your support, even if you don't happen to have the price of a copy of Duffy's book ($17,000 each).  

You can find out about how you can get involved in this effort to preserve and support the music of the American South, here.

Friday, June 23, 2017

DeltaWorkers -- a Residency in New Orleans

We do have some readers of this blog who are Not From Around Here, in this case, not from the United States.

So this blog post is for you. 

But first some background:

According to the DeltaWorkers website, in the fall of 2010 two artists from Rotterdam — Maaike Gouwenberg and Joris Lindhout — made a three-month road trip through the southern states of the US. 

The specific aim of their trip was, they say, "to investigate notions surrounding the Southern Gothic literary genre, on which we were writing a book and creating an exhibition."

Having done that, they found they were not ready to head, full time, back to Europe. 

As a result of their "continued fascination with the southern states," they developed their ideas for DeltaWorkers as "a platform through which they share their "intrigue for this part of the world."

The name DeltaWorkers is taken from the the two cities that Gouenberg and Lindhout are based in: Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, and New Orleans, which are both located in a river delta.
They define DeltaWorkers "as a nomadic artistic production and residence program that investigates the southern states of the U.S. as one of the last mythical places in the West."

So, they "host and present European artists from different disciplines in New Orleans, a city that forms the perfect gateway to the South; a region where many of the historical, sociopolitical, and cultural roots of U.S culture can be found.

If you are interested, its time again to apply for this residency. Here are the details:
  • Deltaworkers receives residents roughly from March until May.
  • The maximum residency period is 3 months, the minimum 4 weeks.
  • They offer communal living spaces, an assistant and introduction to their extended network based on the original proposal.
  • They do not require a final outcome at the end of the residency period but do want to show the eventual outcome in New Orleans when applicable.
  • They do require at least 1 public presentation at one of their partner institutions.
  • They are multi-disciplinary and accept visual artists, designers, theatre makers & performers, filmmakers, writers and musicians.
  • They can host up to 3 residents (or duo's) at a time.
  • For further details, go to their website, here, and scroll down to the "How to Apply" section of the site. 
Note Well -- they are currently residing in a typical New Orleans shotgun house. This means that residents have to walk through each others rooms to get to other rooms, the porch, kitchen and bathrooms, which requires a certain level of sociability from everyone. 

Gouenberg and Lindhout assure us that "this is a commonplace New Orleans' phenomenon which can add to your experience and understanding of the place."

Sounds like a great gig, well worth looking into. But I would also suggest a course of binge-watching of Treme, just to get the flavor of the place.

The Black Photographers Annual at the Virginia Musuem of Fine Arts

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has a show up now through October 3rd, 2017 in their Photography Gallery featuring work by black photographers made during the 1970's.

This show is entitled A Commitment to the Community: The Black Photographers Annual.  
The photographs in this show were first published in the issue of the Black Photographers Annual for 1973.

Subsequent shows will feature work from each of the other three issues of the Black Photographers Annual, a publication that appeared four times between 1973 and 1980. 

All this work deserves vastly more attention than it receives these days.

But the shows at the VMFA will help. Already, the VMFA has digitized all four of the Black Photographers Annuals, and has them available for us to see on their website, go here.

The Black Photographers Annual was published by the folks at Kamoinge, or the Kamoinge Workshop, an organization of African-American photographers formed in New York City in 1963 with the purpose of "providing crucial support and solidarity" for African-American photographers who sought "artistic equality within the industry of photography."

Kamoinge is still very much alive today, see their website here.

Kamoinge gained "the attention of museums, universities, libraries, and galleries, by encouraging and enabling the exhibition of works by photographers of color for the first time." 

Publication of the Black Photographers Annual was part of fulfilling that mission. 

The first issue, published with an introductory essay by Toni Morrison, contained the work of forty-nine artists, including Louis Draper (see image at the top of this blog post) and Bill Jackson (see image directly above), made in Greenwood, Mississippi.

Later issues continued the original format of combining a group show of work by a wide range of artists together with in-depth portfolios of a much smaller selection of photographers. 

Photographers in the 4 volumes of the Black Photographers Album include names that would become familiar to us, like Gordon Parks and Dawoud Bey, but also the work of photographers far less well know, but altogether richly deserving of our attention.

Work included in these four albums ranges from iconic images, such as Moneta Sleet's photograph of Coretta Scott King at her husband's funeral (see image above), to street photographs, to portraits, pretty much covering the full range of styles and subject matter characteristic of photography in that period. 

I strongly encourage you to go to the VMFA's website and flip through the pages of the Black Photographers Annuals

Not only do we step back into a world that to me seems like yesterday, but in fact is rapidly becoming a period in history, but we also get to appreciate the quality of this work, and also recover something of the excitement generated by photography in the early days of its recognition as a fine art practice.

The show at the VMFA has been featured in an entry on the New York Times LENS blog, go here. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

UPDATED -- Eyes on Main Street Residency -- Wilson, North Carolina

Looking for a residency to hone your skills in Southern photography? 

Eyes on Main Street, the photography festival held in Wilson, NC, is accepting applications for residencies in Wilson. 

Jerome De Perlinghi, director of Eyes on Main Street, has announced that he is inviting applications for six available positions for residencies of one month duration, with 3 places reserved for women and 3 for men. 

The goal of the residency program is the development of several strong photographic portfolios exploring the town of Wilson and its environs.  
Both domestic and international photographers are invited to apply. De Perlinghi says "a strong sense of street photography" is required. 

A detailed account of these residencies and a link to the application form are available on the Eyes on Main Street website, here:

You can also find out more about these residencies in this story from the local newspaper, here:,87137

Candidates apply by submitting a digital portfolio, a link to their website, and a brief cover letter with the application form, before midnight on July 16th, 2017 to:
There is no entry fee, and residency recipients will be notified by August 1, 2017. 

Each selected photographer will have a group exhibition with a selection of his or her images during the 4th edition of the Eyes on Main Street Outdoor Photo Festival, which will run from April - July of 2018.

De Perlinghi says the resident artists will live on Nash Street in Historic Downtown Wilson for one month. 

The Festival will offer comfortable lodging in a small private apartment consisting of a workspace, a kitchen, a bathroom and one bedroom with a one-time stipend of $500 to cover some travel and related costs. 

Utility bills will be paid for by the Festival and a Mac computer with all the needed programs + iCloud will be available to the photographer. 

Transportation to and from the airport will be provided from RDU, Raleigh-Durham Airport, 60 miles from Wilson. 

Wilson, by the way, is a town of about 50,000 people in North Carolina about 50 miles east of its capital, Raleigh.  

Like many Southern towns in North Carolina, Wilson was heavily dependent on the tobacco industry and experienced an economic decline when the tobacco warehouses closed down.

Today, De Perlinghi says, the city is reinventing itself through several arts projects, including Eyes on Main Street and the new Whirligig Sculpture Park, which features the sculptures and constructions of outsider artist Vollis Simpson.  

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

New Southern Photography -- Coming to the Ogden, Fall 2018

Definitely something to look forward to -- the Ogden Museum of Southern Art is opening a show in the fall of 2018 entitled New Southern Photography.

Here is the Ogden's announcement:

"New Southern Photography is a large-scale exhibition organized by the Ogden Museum of Southern Art that highlights the exciting and diverse breadth of photography being practiced in the American South today. 

"The work of twenty -five emerging, mid-career, and established photographers will be featured. Each photographer included will be individually showcased with a monographic installation focusing on a single body of work within the context of a group exhibition. 

"All types of lens-formed imagery will be included from tradition analogue and digital still photography to video installation and new media. New Southern Photography will debut at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in the fall of 2018, and is available for travel to other institutions through 2021.

"New Southern Photography explores the role photography plays in formulating the visual iconography of the modern New South. 

"Regional identity in an interconnected and global world is central to the exhibition’s narrative. Themes and ideas addressed in New Southern Photography include: memory, the experience of place in the American South, cultural mythology and reality, deep familial connections to the land, the tension between the past and present, and the transitory nature of change in the New South.

"The goal of New Southern Photography is to create a space for conversation about the region. This exhibition will not only highlight recent contributions the American South has made to the world through photography, but also serve as a platform to broaden the understanding and appreciation of this complicated, contested, and often misunderstood region. 

"New Southern Photography follows in the rich tradition of Southern literature, where storytelling is paramount.

"It could be said that photography has been the American South’s greatest contribution to 20th century art. Southern photographers – William Christenberry, Sally Mann, and William Eggleston – are international art superstars who pioneered the “Southernization” of the contemporary global photographic aesthetic. 

"Following the trajectory of Christenberry, Eggleston and Mann, New Southern Photography looks at the photographic innovators of today who are influencing the visualization of the American South to a global audience.

"Work represented in the exhibition will be from the past ten years. 

"Photographers included in the New Southern Photography exhibition are: David Emmit Adams, Kael Alford, Elizabeth Bick, Christa Blackwood, John Chiara, Scott Dalton, Joshua Gibson, Maury Gortemiller, Alex Grabiec, Aaron Hardin, Courtney Johnson, Tommy Kha, Brittany Lauback, Carl Martin, Jonathan Traviesa & Cristina Molina, Andrew Moore, Celestia Morgan, Nancy Newberry, RaMell Ross, Whitten Sabbatini, Jared Soares, Louviere + Vanessa, and Susan Worsham.

"New Southern Photography is being curated by Richard McCabe, Ogden Museum of Art’s Curator of Photography."

Good to see folks on this list of photographers whose names I recognize. Also good to see some names of folks with whose work I am not familiar.  

Will keep you posted as this story unfolds in the weeks and months ahead!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Mark Steinmetz is Having a Productive 2017, and its only June

Athens, Georgia-based photographer Mark Steinmetz (see image above) just closed a show of work from his portfolio South, at the Yancy Richardson Gallery in NYC

Steinmetz' show was featured in the Guardian newspaper, with the title Georgia on My Mind, go here.  

It was also featured in the online ezine L'Oeil de la Photographie, go here. 

Also, in a feature story entitled "how mark steinmetz captures love and lightning in the american south," by Emily Manning, in I-D, go here

Steinmetz' book The Players (see image above) was chosen as an essential book of photography for 2017 by Tank Magazine, go here. 

He has also been featured in a podcast by The Magic Hour, go here

Steinmetz has also joined the growing list of photographers commissioned by Atlanta's High Museum of Art to produce a portfolio of work for the High's Picturing the South series. 

Steinmetz' work will be exhibited at the High Museum later in 2017. 

Earlier this year, Steinmetz had work in the exceptionally fine Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art show at Duke University's Nasher Museum.

In addition, Steinmetz takes opportunities to get out of the South to produce bodies of work like his portfolio Angel City West, a set of images made in Los Angeles.

This body of work was the subject of a solo show at the Hartman Fine Art Gallery in Los Angeles in February and March of ths year.

So, much to celebrate and look forward to in the burgeoning career of Mark Steinmetz, in 2017!

Congratulations to Steinmetz on this fine work and on all the well-deserved recognition. 

And, its only June -- who knows what the next few months will offer?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

SlowExposures Deadline this Sunday, June 18th

Three Easels Dale Niles

Be aware -- the deadline for submission of your work for this year's SlowExposures Photography Exhibition is this Sunday, June 18th, at midnight.

The folks at the SlowExposures Show Committee put it best:

"This is a great time to make that intuitive, by-the-seat-of-your-pants choice of six of your images for SlowExposures. 

"Do it this weekend before the deadline whizzes by on Sunday at midnight!  

" Pick the five images of the rural South that you love, and then pick a "wild card" for your sixth...after, relax in the knowledge that you did a good thing. 

"Juried in or not, we honor you as esteemed members of the SlowExposures experience. 

"You'll be invited to the Soiree under the pecan trees at Split Oak Farm and we'll see you during all the other wonderful events during this year's "Unplugged" show...because you invested in your vision."

Arnika Dawkins and I are looking forward to seeing your work and to making what I am sure will be a whole bunch of very difficult decisions.  

In any case, we look forward to meeting you at the SlowExposures weekend, September 14th - 17th, in Zebulon, Georgia.

To get your work to us for our review, follow the directions for the electronic submission process at the SlowExposures website, here:

We'll see you in September!

Friday, June 9, 2017

David Knox at the Atlanta Buckhead Library

New Orleans-based photographer David Knox (see image above) is opening a show of work from his Tableaux Montage portfolio on June 14th, 2017, at the Buckhead Branch of the Atlanta Public Library, at 269 Buckhead Avenue, N.E., in Atlanta, GA 30305.

This show is called Ritual and Ruin: Tableaux of a Lost War, and will be up at the Buckhead Library through Monday, July 17th, 2017. 

Knox's images in this show are large in scale, up to six feet wide, or more.

They are constructed from historic photographs of ruined and devastated landscapes of the post-Civil War South which Knox populates with figures, also drawn from historic photographs as well as from his contemporary work. 

According to the folks at the Buckhead Library, Knox attempts, in these images, to evoke the "ghosts of past centuries [that] find undisturbed refuge in the American South from the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains down to the fertile flat lands of the Gulf Coast."

The folks in Atlanta go on: "For New Orleans-based photographer David Knox, the past resides in the present in many forms - land, crops, architecture, and people. 

"In his most recent body of work, he combines historical images from the American Civil War with his own photographs to create photomontages depicting an imagined, surreal world set somewhere in the mid-19th century South. 

"These tableaux weave together the disparate lives of Union and Confederate soldiers of the Civil War, freedmen and slaves, civilians and clergy.

Knox describes his work as creating "photomontages depicting an imagined, surreal world set somewhere in the mid 19th century South. 

"These tableaux weave together the disparate lives of Union and Confederate soldiers, slaves, women, children, clergy, and animals. 

"The characters in these fabled scenes and the symbols around them offer fictional narratives that represent and explore hardship, loss, survival, gender, race, class, religion, death, and resurrection.

He goes on: 

"The pervasiveness of Christianity in the South combined with the apocalyptical wartime destruction of the landscape provide reference for many of the titles, based on verses from the Book of Revelation. 

"The physical pieces, large in scale, are informed by several nineteenth-century printing processes including stereographs, tintypes, wet plate collodions and panoramics."

Given the scale of Knox's prints, they have vastly more power when seen in person than they have in the small scale images I can show here. 

The challenge of photography is of course always time, since the straightforward shot records moments and lifts them out of time. 

That's one reason lots of photographers like to photograph abandoned factories and falling-down houses -- one gets a sense of the passage of time into the image, since the present moment of the object reveals at least something of what it used to look like as well as the way it looks now.

But such images are inherently elegiac, are about loss and decay, and the ravages of time.

Knox builds on that quality in his work, and in the process addresses directly the American South's legacy of exploitation and violence, that quality of the South that Joan Didion tries to capture when she says that Southerners dwell in a memory-haunted landscape which we believe we have "bloodied . . . with history."

Powerful work here, well worth a trip to Buckhead, and to the Library. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Part I -- Southern Photographers in the News -- Late Spring 2017

Yr Humble Servant the Southern Photographer is still catching up after a very busy spring season in his customary professional life. 

Nevertheless, we are on our way. Here's a start, some items of interest. Will update this blog entry over the next few days, so check back. 

1. Douglasville, GA-based photographer Jack Deese (see image above) has work from his How to Orient Yourself in the Wilderness porfolio featured in AINT-BAD, go here

2. Nashville-based photographer Jack Spencer (see image above) has published a new book, This Land: An American Portrait, with the University of Texas Press. 

This book consists of gorgeous, well-seen landscape photographs, and you can see more of them at the feature on Spencer's work by Aline Smithson on Lenscratch, go here.

3. Honorary Southern Photographer Eugene Richards (see image above), who has done several major bodies of work in the American South, is having a major retrospective show of his work at the Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY, opening June 10th and up through October 22nd, 2017.

This show, entitled The Run-On of Time, includes over 150 of Richards' images. You can learn more about Richards, and about this show, in the PDN Online story, go here

You can also read a review of this show, from the Wall Street Journal, here. 

Mother Jones has also published a review of this show, here, praising Richards as "the photographer America needs now."

4. Alabama-based photographer Jerry Siegel has published a new book, entitled Black Belt Color, which is now available from the Georgia Museum of Arts bookshop, here, or from the usual and customary source, here

Still more to come, on the Southern Photographer!