Thursday, May 28, 2015

Even More Updates on the News of Southern Photographers -- Late Spring 2015

Several items of interest, here on the eve of summer 2015:

1. The Museum of Art at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, GA, has up a group show of landscape photography featuring -- along with work by Ansel Adams -- work by SCAD faculty member Tom Fischer (see image above) and other photographers with various kinds of Southern connections, including Jeff Rich, Aaron Brumbelow, Victoria Sambunaris, and Rebecca Webb.  

2. The irrepressible Chapel Hill-based photographer Lori Vrba had a show of work from her Drunken Poet's Dream portfolio at Chapel Hill, NC's historic Horace Williams House in April.   

That show is over, but you can visit it if you go here:


Also, Vrba's new book The Moth Wing Diaries is featured now on the Eye of Photography blog.  

These folks say, "Vrba's richly textured, meticulously composed photographs are packed with symbolism drawn from art, folklore, mythology, and biblical references . . . that examine themes such as the simultaneous joy and pain of motherhood, love, transformation and coming of age."

AND, Vrba has a show of her Moth Wing Diaries portfolio at the Catherine Couturier Gallery in Houston, Texas, which opened June 6th with a reception from 2:00 to 5:00, and up through August 31, 2015.

If you can't make it to the show in Houston, you can get the flavor of it here:


You go, Lori!

3. Following Vrba at the Horace Williams House is a group show featuring Chapel Hill-based photographer (and my former teacher) Leah Sobsey, whose work will be on the walls alongside work by my cousin Anne Wall Thomas. 

This show opens June 7th, with an Opening Reception on Sunday, June 14th, from 2:00 - 4:00 pm, and will be up through June 29th, 2015. 

4. Distinguished Southern Photographer Burk Uzzle (see image above) will have a major show of work at the Steven Kasher Gallery, at 515 West 26th Street, in Manhattan, opening with a reception at 6:00 pm on June 11th, 2015, and up through July 31st 2015. 

This show is entitled Burk Uzzle: American Puzzles, and features over 70 vintage black and white photographs of the American social landscape from the 1960s through the 2000s.  

In gallery-speak, this show "offers a formal simplification of the visual field with an emotionally complex rendering of American Society. His puzzle-like images question and confront the tensions present in our individual and cultural psyches"

In people talk, this is a major show by a Major Southern Photographer, which will offer stunning and compelling images that reward repeated viewing.

You can preview Uzzle's show if you go here.

5. Sadly B. B. King is dead, but Honorary Southern Photographer Beatrice Chauvin (see image above) will have a show of work from her UNBROKEN portfolio at the B. B. King Museum, in the Cotton Gin, coming up this October, 2015. 

More news on that front later. Watch this space, as they say. 

6. Williamsburg-based photographer Eliot Dudik has been chosen to have a solo show at the Griffin Museum of Photography in 2016, go here.

7. Richmond, VA-based photographer Susan Worsham has been named Photographer of Week for early June 2015 by the folks at Capricious Magazine, on their blog, here.

8. Finally, since we last checked, Jeff Rich has featured the following Southern Photographers on his Eyes on the South blog for the Oxford American

Scott Jost 

Pascal Amoyel

Amber Law

Trish Gibson

Joshua Harr

Rachel Boillot

and Sean Salyards.

All for now -- back soon with more news of Photography in the American South!

Rebekah Jacob Named One of the Carolinas' Most Stylish People

Rebekah Jacob, owner of the splendid Rebekah Jacob Gallery at 54 Broad Street, in Charleston, has been named one of the 75 Most Stylish People in the Carolinas in 2015 by Carolina Style magazine.

Carolina Style's profile of Jacob reads:

"Impeccably curated contemporary fine art gallery is what you'll find at Rebekah Jacob Gallery. 

"Her self-titled gallery features pieces from illustrious Southern art and estates. 

"Never wanting to distract from the art in her gallery, Rebekah keeps her style streamlined and chic, often sporting a head-to-toe black ensemble. 

"She adds vintage jewelry and dawns a leopard print shoe when wanting to add stylish elements to an outfit. 

"Other impressive accolades include being a founding member of Society 1858 of the Gibbes Museum of Art and certified member of the Appraiser's Association of America. 

"Some of her favorite designers include Helmut Lang, Stella McCartney, Jason Wu and Ralph Lauren. 

"Rebekah's sleek personal style and expertise of admirable Southern art, as well as her passion and dedication to bettering the Charleston art community, makes her one of Charleston's most stylish and respected gallery owners."

Jacob specializes in Southern art, especially Southern photography.

Jacob's current show up at the Gallery features photographs by Birney Imes, whom I'm not all that sure is all that stylish, but is a first-class Southern photographer. 

You can check out his work here, from the Rebekah Jacob Gallery website. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

SOCO Gallery Opens in Charlotte

 While we lament the closing of Castell Gallery in Asheville, we celebrate the opening of Southern Comfort Gallery (SOCO) in Charlotte. 

Chandra Johnson has been working up to this event since 2014, and now announces the grand opening of SOCO Gallery (SOCO) in a renovated 1920's bungalow in Charlotte's Myers Park neighborhood, at 421 Province Road.

Johnson says that SOCO is "a contemporary art gallery" that "represents emerging and established artists working in all mediums with a specialization in photography."

The gallery offers 1,200 square feet of exhibition space, as well as a bookshop and garden.

The opening exhibition now up at SOCO is Fluid Journey, a group show of photography which, according to Johnson, explores "the idea of the transformative qualities of both water and leisure and how they affect our physical and mental states."

This show, up through August 22nd, 2015, features work by Will Adler (see image below), LeRoy Grannis, Xavier Guardans, Mona Kuhn, Karine Laval (see image above), Ken Van Sickle and Massimo Vitali.

 As part of the run-up to opening SOCO, Johnson organized a show of work by the transitional Jeff Whetstone (see image below), featuring work from his New Wilderness portfolio at a site specific installation in Dallas at the Joule Hotel’s Comme Des Garçons PLAY Space during the Dallas Art Fair this past April. 

SOCO Gallery is already getting national attention, as witnessed to by the article in W Magazine, here. 

Congratulations to Johnson and to all in the photography community in Charlotte on the opening of this space for the exhibition of Southern photography, or, at least, the exhibition of photography in the American South.

Long may you thrive!

S[x]SE for Late Spring 2015

The latest issue of South by South East (S[x]SE) Photography Magazine (Volume 4, Issue 6) is now out for late spring 2015, and it has all the fine photography and engaging features we have come to expect from S[x]SE.

Editor Nancy McCrary has declared this to be the photobook issue.

The feature story, by Barbara Griffin, highlights photobooks by Malcolm Lightner, Jerry Park, Mario DiGiloramo, Ryan Moore, William Boling, Elizabeth Kleinveld and Epaul Julien (known in some circles as E2), Tim Lewis, David Halladay, Kael Alford (see image above), John Rosenthal, Dede Lusk, Willard Pate, and 27 fine New Orleans-based photographers brought together in a book entitled Inventing Reality: New Orleans Visionary Photography, edited by D. Eric Bookhardt. 

McCrary notes that some of these photo books stretch our definition of a book, since one of the "books" is actually a can, while another is a series of QR codes that actually change daily. 

This issue of S[x]SE also includes notice by Judy Sherrod of a show of photographs by Lewis Carroll, of Alice in Wonderland fame, now up at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, TX, through July 6th, as well as an account of Sherrod's photo workshop Shootapalooza, by Angela Johnson.

Finally, S[x]SE brings us a report on Atlanta photographer Chip Simone's  Advanced Photography Seminar, with work by a number of the folks who have benefited from participation, including Ben Helton, Jim Newberry, Q Oliver, Richard Skoonbery, Joseph Pizzuto, and Terri Darnell.

And you can have access to all this fine -- and award-winning -- work for a very reasonable fee, a very reasonable fee indeed.

To subscribe, to do the right thing, go here.

Don't put it off any longer. We Southern photographers need to support our basic institutions.

You know you should subscribe. You know it, you really do.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Gillian Laub and Southern Rites at Manhatttan's Benrubi Gallery

NYC-based photographer Gillian Laub is having a show of work from her Southern Rites portfolio at the Benrubi Gallery in Manhattan, up now through June 27th, 2015. 

This is deeply significant work, the result of twelve years of effort on Laub's part to document the ways in which longstanding issues of race, equality, and the uncertain path toward the integration of public education in the American South have played out in Montgomery County, Georgia. 

This project builds on Laub's earlier project A Prom Divided, published in the New York Times Magazine in May of 2009. 
That piece documented Montgomery County High School’s practice of holding racially segregated homecoming celebrations and high school proms over 50 years after the Supreme Court's order to integrate public education. 

The attention that Laub’s photographs brought to the Montgomery County school system led to several positive developments, including the integration of the high school's prom and an effort to elect the county's first African American sheriff.

Unfortunately, this sense of progress was complicated by the murder of a young black man -- featured in Laub's earlier portfolio -- by an older white man who, at least at the time of the events documented in Laub's work, remained at large. .
The folks at Benrubi Gallery capture the heart of this work, thus:

"Through her intimate portraits and first-hand testimony, Laub reveals in vivid color the horror and humanity of these complex, intertwined narratives. 

"The photographer’s inimitable sensibility—it is the essence and emotional truth of the singular person in front of her lens that matters most—ensures that, however elevated the ideas and themes may be, her pictures remain studies of individuals [and provide] a chronicle of their courage in the face of injustice, of their suffering and redemption, possessing an unsettling power."

For those of us who cannot get to the Benrubi Gallery while Laub's work is on display, her work also appears in a new book also entitled Southern Rites, available here. 

Laub has also directed a documentary film, also called Southern Rites: What Changes and What Remains, now showing on HBO.

You can see the trailer for Southern Rites here:

You can watch the documentary itself, here. 

You can find much more about Laub, and all the facets of the Southern Rites project, here, on its own website.  

I agree fully with the folks at the Benrubi Gallery that this "film, book, and exhibition constitute a major cultural and artistic achievement by one of the most daring, wide-ranging photographers at work today."
Gilian Laub has certainly earned the right to be considered an Honorary Southern Photographer. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Doing Good in the Alabama Black Belt -- Summer 2015

I'm grateful to Alan Rothschild of the Do Good Fund of Columbus, GA, for news that the Fund has brought three major photography exhibitions, including over 80 photographs by 40 Southern photographers, to the towns of Marion and Greensboro, Alabama.

This region of the South is especially well-known in the world of photography because of the photography of Walker Evans and William Christenberry.

The Fund is making this possible through collaboration with the University of Alabama’s Honor College, the Smith Building Art Gallery, and the Greensboro, AL-based Hale Empowerment and Revitalization Organization (“HERO”). 

This work is appearing in three interrelated shows, all of which opened on May 15th and will be up through July 31st, 2015.

One of these, entitled Eternal Moments: Photographs of the South, is up at the Smith Building Art Gallery, in Marion, Alabama.

The other two are in Greensboro, Alabama, 25 miles to the west of Marion.

The Greensboro shows include Gordon Parks: The Segregation Portfolio (see image above) on view at 1116 Main St., and A Changing Nature:  Photography of the South, 1963-2014, on view at 1118 Main St., in Greensboro, Alabama. 

For full information about hours for viewing and other necessary details, go here to the Do Good website. 

In addition to the three shows, The Do Good Fund also plans a photographers' gathering in the Black Belt, scheduled for the weekend of June 26-28.

These shows bring together a remarkably deep and rich collection of Southern photography, including two images made in Hale County, Alabama, by William Christenberry.

Other individual highlights of these shows include the complete 12 image Gordon Parks Segregation Series portfolio, an image from New Orleans photographer Keith Calhoun's Angola Prison series (currently featured at the Venice Biennale), and work by the newest Guggenheim Fellow photographer, Susan Lipper.  

In addition to Gordon Parks, here's a complete list of photographers -- a veritable who's who of Southern photography -- selected by curators Chip Cooper and Kenzie McNeilly for inclusion in Do Good’s summer Black Belt shows:

Shelby Lee Adams, Dave Anderson, Rachel Boillot, Debbie Fleming Caffery, Keith Calhoun, Aaron Canipe, Keith Carter, Orien Catledge, William Christenberry, Maude Schuyler Clay, and Dennis Darling.

Also, Eliot Dudik, Joshua Dudley Greer, William Greiner, Cynthia Henebry,  Lauren Henkin, Birney Imes, Jane Robbins Kerr, Kevin Kline, Baldwin Lee, Susan Lipper, Sophie Lvoff (see image above), and Richard McCabe. 

Also, John Menapace, Charles Moore, Don Norris, Walker Pickering, Tamara Reynolds, Whitten Sabatini, Jerry Siegel, Mike Smith, Magdalena Sole, Rosalind Fox Solomon, Mark Steinmetz, Rylan Steele,Marilyn Suriani, Brandon Thibodeaux, and Susan Worsham.

Congratulations to the folks at the Do Good Fund, and to all their collaborators, and to all these photographers, for this exceptionally visionary and transformative undertaking.

Please, folks, keep me posted as to how this project works out for the good citizens of Alabama.

AINT-BAD Calls for the Southern Selfie

The Savannah-grounded AINT-BAD MAGAZINE -- which is not limited in its coverage to Southern photography but always seems to find room for a Southern photographer or two -- has issued a call for entries for both print and online publication of selfie photographs. 

Here's what the fine folks at AINT-BAD say about the Selfie in today's photographic culture, and about what they are looking for:

"The Selfie is privacy made public. It is the ultimate in contemporary TMI, at once new and as old as the portrait itself. And though the selfie seems to be here to stay, there is debate about its effect on personal and collective self-awareness. 

"Has it left us with a fetish of the self, senselessly archiving the banality of our everyday lives? Or is it simply a convenient, healthy channel for self expression? 

"In this issue, we want to see your face. Or we don’t. We want your selfies in all forms of interpretation. Give us the formal, give us the beyond-informal. 

"Show us the whole story, or reveal a fragment of your unrelenting procession of time. 

"Aint-Bad seeks work that explores the visual representation of self documentation and temporal existence in both representational and conceptual photo-based, multi-media platforms. 

"This carefully curated issue of Aint-Bad Magazine will present photographic work and essays dealing with the concept of the selfie. 

"We invite proposals from established, emerging, and simply self-motivated photographers and writers. A selection will be included in our print edition and an expanded selection of selfie images will be included on our website,

"To submit, please send 10-15 photographs that define “The Selfie” for you. Accompanying your submission, please include at least one self portrait taken via cell phone or handheld camera."

The deadline for submission is July 15th, 2015. Full details on submitting are here. 

Thanks to Parker and all the other fine folks at AINT-BAD for news of this opportunity.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Southern Landscapes at MOCA Jacksonville

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville, Florida has recently opened a major group show of landscape photography made in the American South by a distinguished gathering of mostly Southern photographers.  

The show is entitled Southern Exposure:Portraits of a Changing Landscape and is up at MOCA Jacksonville through August 30th, 2015. 

Artists represented in this show include William Christenberry, Deborah Luster, Sally Mann, Jeanine Michna-Bales (see image above), Richard Misrach, Andrew Moore, and Alec Soth.

According to the folks at MOCA Jacksonville, the work on view in this show is intended to address several issues in the landscape photography of the American South.

They include the question of "timelessness" in depictions of the Southern landscape, the mental world where "moss-draped oaks create canopies over enormous columned mansions" and "lazy rivers wind through verdant shores teeming with wildlife."

But they also include the deeply time- and place-bound  questions of "the multifaceted relationship between man and land across time, from what remains in Civil War battlefields to roadsides and urban scenes to the ecological degradation studies along the iconic Mississippi River."

In any case, the folks at MOCA Jacksonville hope the images in the show "address the complex histories, extraordinary spirit, and unimaginable contradictions inherent in the American Southern landscape."

This all sounds exceptionally promising. well worth your visit if you are in Jacksonville, Florida this summer. 

Check it out and let me know how it works for you. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

News of Photographers from the American South -- High Spring 2015

Here are a few items of interest, liable to be updated at any time. 

1. Richmond, VA-based photographer Susan Worsham (see image above) received a Juror's Pick Award in Lens Culture's Portrait Award competition for 2015. 

2. Columbia, SC-based photographer Kathleen Robbins and Williamsburg, VA-based photographer Eliot Dudik are among the photographers with work in an on-line group show The Everyday, curated by Willson Cummer, in Issue 74 of fraction Magazine, here
3. Dudik also was a winner in the Magenta Foundation's Flash Forward Emerging Photographers Competition.

 4. Jeff Whetstone (see image above), who is for another few days professor of photography at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will soon be moving north to join the faculty of the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University.

5. Atlanta-based photographer Marilyn Suriani has work in a group show on the Through the Cracks blog, here. 

6. Mississippi-based photographer Betty Press is rallying support to save the Art and Design darkroom at the University of Southern Mississippi. 

If you wish to help her in this good cause, Betty says, "like and share Save the Art and Design Darkroom at USM

"Also please get in touch with the department chairs of Art and Design Howard Paine ( and Mass Comm Dr. Dave Davies ("

6. Raleigh-based photographers Dwane Powell (see image above), Carson Boone, and Jim White have tracked down a country store in Person County, NC, that figures large in a classic Dorothea Lange WPA photograph. 

 See the whole story here, in Raleigh's Walter Magazine.

And that's all for now -- but watch this space, as they say, for updates still to come.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Roger May's Appalachia in the New York Times

Raleigh-based (but with deep West Virginia roots) photographer Roger May (see image above) is having an exceptional 2015. 

His Looking at Appalachia Project (which we described a while back here) is opening its first prints-on-the wall exhibition on May 21st at the Spartanburg County Public Libraries Headquarters, 151 South Church Street, Spartanburg, South Carolina. 

This fascinating project has, today, May 20, 2015, captured the imagination of the New York Times' David Gonzalez, who features Roger and the Looking at Appalachia Project on the NY Times' LENS blog, here.

Congratulations to Roger and his colleagues in the Looking at Appalachia Project.

Y'all are using photography to address basic issues of public perception, an ongoing challenge for all of us in the American South. 

We're proud to know you and look forward to seeing how all this works out. 

But most of all, we look forward to the photographs. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Castell Gallery Closing

Today's email brings the sad news that the exceptionally fine Castell Photography Gallery in Asheville is closing. 

We are told that Gallery owner Brie Castell is moving to Another Land, precipitating her decision to close the Gallery after six years of operation. 

The final show is the one now up, which will close the Gallery when it ends on June 20th, 2015.

This is all well and good, and a woman's gotta do what a woman's gotta do, and Brie Castell  is a Fine Person, exceptionally able, organized, creative, and imaginative, who deserves to thrive and prosper and to find her own way in the world.

But, still, one dreams of a time when a place like Asheville -- of all places in the American South -- would support and sustain a person like Castell and an enterprise like the Castell Gallery for the long as well as the short term.

In my experience, in smaller cities especially, when a gallery folds up, there is a tear in the cultural fabric that is hard to repair.

This will be especially true, I think, of the Castell Gallery, with its elegant and well-designed interior, with the thoughtful selection of outstanding photographs by exceptionally talented photographers, and, of course with its really cool address in downtown Asheville. 

One hopes that places like Asheville, or for that matter, any of the smaller cities in the South, can be their own places, serving as incubators for folk's energy and creativity and celebration of the arts.

Clearly, that time is not yet. 

But in the meantime, we can celebrate the six years that the Castell Gallery has graced downtown Asheville, at 2C Wilson Alley.

We can congratulate Brie and her Gallery Director Heidi Gruner on their six-year run, celebrate all the fine photographers whose work has been on exhibit at the Castell Gallery, and enjoy -- if we are able -- a farewell party for the gallery on Friday, June 19th, beginning at 6:00 pm. 

I'll be there in spirit, if not in body. 

Blessings to both Brie and Heidi, and good wishes as they continue their journeys in the wider world of fine art photography.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Sally Mann in Vogue and Vanity Fair -- and on NPR and CBS and in the Oxford American

Distinguished Southern Photographer Sally Mann is definitely in fashion in this spring of 2015. 

Or at least in vogue. There is a fascinating interview with Mann on the Vogue website, here.

Mann is also interviewed in Vanity Fair, here.

Mann has also been interviewed on Fresh Air by NPR's Terry Gross, here, and by Charlie Rose, on CBS This Morning, here. 
It's intriguing to compare the approaches to interviewing Mann taken by each of these news outlets -- by the journal of fashion, by the journal of high-class gossip, by NPR's oracle of American popular culture, and by a prominent spokesperson for mass-market media.

For a completely different take, see this interview with Mann in the Oxford American, interviewed  (and photographed) by Southern photographer Maude Schuyler Clay.