Wednesday, October 21, 2015


In The End It Is All Personal



Jerry Atnip and I stater with almost 900 jpegs of photographs,taken in the south by photographers from as far away as 
California and Massachusetts and all the southern states.Seventy were chosen a catalog was printed and received and hung.For four days the people of Pike County Georgia shared that hospitality with each other and people from around the country.I want to believe fun was had by all maybe a little enlightenment  I know there is no single image,no simple phrase that can truly describe the rural south,like there is no facile way to describe me. it is a feeling.

These four images gave me an emotional rush that maybe in easy in some ways to see why and in other not.Take a little time and look, I am in each one.

Old Soldiers Reunion Parade, Newton North Carolina   Aaron Canip,  Durham NC
Thirsty    William Bishop, Molena GA
Diner   Sean Dunn, Athens GA
Knights of Columbus Oyster Roast   Preston Gannaway, Oakland CA

Monday, October 19, 2015

" After All Tomorrow Is Another Day "




When I think of the South I am remind of an album by Brian Eno, Another Green World.I close my eyes and imagine lush vegetation every where the mind's eye can see,bright,green,humid, almost tropical. That is only one reality,there are others. The south is still bring exploited for it cheap land and labor so the new south I think can be seen in images like  Pickwick Landing, Downstream and Destrehan Louisana, testaments to a changing rural landscape.

Maybe nature will take back and heal the scars we create to quote the enduring Scarlett O'Hara,"After all tomorrow is another day."

Cotton Georgia    Timothy Hyde, Alexandria VA
Cotten Patch    Joe Hoyle, Lilburn GA
Pickwick Landing Downstream    Micah Cash, Charolotte NC
Destrahan Alabam    Mark Indig, Valley Village CA
Before The Rain    Leland McElveen, Chapin SC
Greenhouse # 2     Andrew Feiler, Atlanta GA

Thursday, October 15, 2015


What Is A Southern ?



In many ways I can be a southern cliche , I am a romantic who looks back ,I spend way too much time dreaming and thinking, There is always tomorrow and yet I am sort of a lone who can get things done.The most contradictory thing about me is the illusion that I like to socialize with other people and great in gathering funny thing I am in places because of need and my social skills are based on protest and fear.I have been called the b word (was not great when we could speak without using code) because it seems I only complain.

Where is this leading ? Well one of the best reasons I like photography is that it allows me to be a languid voyeur. I/you can look at people for as long as you want without confrontation are being thought a creep,I /you can decide over time is this is someone to know or avoid.A photograph gives you time to change your mind as you linger and pour over every pore,the mind can say what is your story, why was the moment with you worth saving for me to see ?

I/you can fall in love,hate,try to understand or be dismissive but the photograph has given you time.

I think being a Southern is really about how you feel time more than place.

Young Patriot   Todd Suttles, Atlanta GA
Serafina    Jenny Stratton Durham NC
Boy with Dog   Jerry Siegel, Atlanta GA
First Gun   Rick Smith, Nashville TN
Paent Dallas County Alabama   Jerry Siegel Atlanta  GA
Nancy on Thanksgiving Day   Tara Saunder, Columbus GAs
Twins   Betty Press, Hattiesburg MS
Two Brothers   Laura Kresmin, Tucker GA

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Symmetry and Parallel Lines

10 Years Later : Still Full of Surprises 4



Russell Grace  Fernery of Seville
Lisa Johnston   Going Home
Rob Amberg  Driving Lesson with My Daughter
Mike Baker   Fast Train Running

Betty Press    Cake Walk,Black Hawk MS
Nick Dantona   Clarksdale Greyhound Station
This year Jerry and I tried to reflect the chestnuts of "southern photography themes" so there are landscapes and people, signage cotton fields and even an Elvis or two but for me one of the most pleasing effect after the show was hung was the rhythm and symmetry of the choices so evident but then I ask you to look and see for your self.

Thursday, October 1, 2015


10 Years Later : Still Full of Surprises 3



First Peach  Tamara Reynolds

Peeling Peaches  Dale Niles
The south is a state of mind more than a place,so my longing for home is not real to me anymore.Any number of things from sweet smells,food.light and sound can create  torrents of mixed emotions that other would drown in but logic or stubbornness always save me.Last evening while reading The Hunger Games (some of it is set in the south) there is a description of Katniss Everdeen sucking honeysuckle flowers for sweetness and sustenance,all a sudden i was right there with her.

Every summer send me into a frenzy to search for the perfect peach,the crispest red watermelon the most intense blackberries and velvety figs.These things remind me of a time and place so does these two images.

When Jerry Atnip and I looked over the exhibition for the first time in Concord Georgia we became aware of a symmetry to the photographs that could not be denied

The first image you see is, First Peach and the last image Peeling Peaches.They hang across from each other.To say more than look at them would burden these pictures with needless explanation.You know the moment.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Disruptive Technology

10 Years Later : Still Full of Surprises 2



Jake Deese    Cody, Kimmy, David, and Stormy.Looking closely at details
Henry Jacobs    River Boys

After the exhibition was installed we began to notice that certain images created dialogues 
once you begin to spend time with them and look into the photograph's space and try to
find details about what is going on.Today Eye Caramba wrote on a Facebook post" Disruptive technology "
I love the pairing of these two words When I spoke about these two images I said I felt the photographer had 
intruded into a golden moments of youthful summers. 

Can we remember them without a snapshot.

Jake Deese's quartet of teenagers resting after river rafting are interesting because they are giving as much
as they are getting. Each one has an attitude from indifferent to agitated to cool disdain.Everything from posture to clothing
(what little) and facial mask add to our memories of being a teenager.The look of I am bothered but I am too cool to be.

Henry Jacobs' River Boys is gentle in its composition and the amount of space,light , river and sky each boy is given.
There is an airy idyllic sense to the day,just boys fishing.A timeless story I think I should let the artist speak here
" Chattahoochee river boys | The water moved steadily over and down the fifteen foot high dam, these young teenage boys out on the top ledge with their fishing poles like those before them have done for generations. I happened to be out on the river for @crkeeper when I passed by the scene early one summer morning. Fast forward to this weekend, and I had the opportunity to show it in good company with other photographers whose work was selected for Slow Exposures, a show that celebrates the rural south. Proud of that, and eager now to continue working on the river and sharing moments like this." like I said just boys fishing in the golden glow of youth and summer.

10 Years Later : Still Full of Surprises

Preston Gannaway

Snow storm,, from the series Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, Norfolk VA,    Preston Gannaway Okland CA

Just got back from the Southland.This year Jerry Atnip and I were ask to be jurors for the 13th annual Slowexposures competition. I had previously juried this event in 2005 with Celina Lunsford. At that time we created a little stir by choosing Wrapped Turkeys by Andy Scott of Atlanta for the first prize . Sometimes things change and sometimes they don't

Ten years doesn't seem like a long time anymore.Many changes have taken place not just the war between analog and digital but also the way we view pictures,what do they meanI think in this era while we are bombarded by images and on overload,we still want to be able to feel a connection.

Jerry and I decided not only to jury but curate an exhibition that reflected something about the south.Trying to avoid cliches and yet holding on to the idea of what is the South. Picture of old barns, rusted trucks, coca cola signs even kudzu, magnolia and cotton can be photograph in many places.Exotic locals can be found anywhere as well as the downtrodden and cute kids.

Jerry has just did an interview with Sally Mann and that old question was asked what/where is the South ? Like many a feel it more than see it. It is a Neverland that exist to varying degrees in our hearts and no two descriptions will ever be the same.Because each is based on the histories and memories we can remember but never fully describe.We know it, it is formed in our childhood , always stays beyond our grasp our real reality.

Which brings me to our winner this year, Snow Storm by Preston Gannaway when announced people look at us in disbelief. Even as they congratulated us on a solid selection of photographs how could this one win? To be honest the image was beautifully print and presented, In this image a complete world was shown,like a dream, it had a mood of quiet wistfulness.A moment we could all recognize that first snow.

I got my first Brownie camera,took a picture of a solumn little snowman and that was it. Funny ting when the exhibition came down a number of people came up to us to say they had snow pictures in their family albums 

Snow has always been a mystery and an occasion to celebrate in the deep South but this time it was a hot September day.


Thursday, June 25, 2015


Gillian Laub : Southern Rites

May 14 - June 27 2015

Benrubi Gallery
521 West 26th Street
2nd floor
New York, NY 10001

About three years ago on a visit Gillian Laub's studio I  got a chance to view this work.The first image has remain inside my head all this time,the vastness,the struggle between life and death in that Georgia red dirt.The feeling of heat and hope played against a sign that is a proclamation as well as a shout of desperation.Even as a southern who loves his land and place, I still find a struggle within no more than now .

This is a must see exhibition in New York now,so timely.There are three days left,yes the images and other aspects of this combination of projects will be on view in accessible forms to add to the discussion what is the south
The rest of this blog post is an edit of the gallery's press release, please go and see 

Southern Rites is a provocative twelve-year visual study of one community’s struggle to confront
longstanding issues of race and equality. In 2002, Laub was invited to Mt. Vernon, Georgia, to
photograph its segregated homecoming celebrations. She kept returning to the community and in
2009, The New York Times Magazine published a photo-essay by Laub titled, “A Prom Divided,”
which documented Georgia’s Montgomery County High School’s racially segregated prom rituals.
Laub’s photographs ignited a firestorm of national outrage that, remarkably, led the community to
finally integrate the proms.

Laub continued to travel to Mt. Vernon to document the aftermath, which was welcomed in some
circles and decried in others. In 2011, amid newfound hope, the murder of a young black man
(portrayed in Laub’s earlier prom series) by an older white town resident reopened old wounds.
Through her intimate portraits, first-hand testimony, and video installation, Laub reveals in vivid
color the horror and humanity of these complex, intertwined narratives.
The photographer’s inimitable sensibility ensures that, however elevated the ideas and themes
may be, her pictures remain studies of individuals; a chronicle of their courage in the face of
injustice, of their suffering and redemption, possessing an unsettling power. Laub’s photographs
capture a world caught between eras and values with extraordinary candor and immediacy—
and ultimately ask whether a new generation can finally unshackle themselves from an
uncomfortable past and make a different future.

The Benrubi exhibition coincides with the world broadcast premiere of Southern Rites on HBO, a
documentary directed by Laub herself, and executive produced by acclaimed musician John
Legend. Film, book, and exhibition constitute a major cultural and artistic achievement

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


An Exhibition of Ceramics by Ken Akaji
June 18 - July  3
212 967 4899
12 East 86th Street No. 507


I  am always aware of the serendipitous moment ,that is what brought me to Ippodo Gallery New York when its exhibition space was in Chelsea.Ippodo was
a different experience for me and has evolved in New York to an appointment only space.Quiet,private elegant and more reflective.You can see and touch the wares in a more serene setting maybe with a bowl of tea and discussion about the life of the art object.

I saw Ken Akaji vessels a few weeks ago and they have been dancing in my mind ever since then .The restraint need to create a line is balance by the lushness of each brushstroke of red. So refine, yet I break into smiles because I am reminded of circuses christmas carousels clowns and candy canes.That feeling of vertigo after one has twirl to much and the spinning won't stop.Strange all of these things fitting in the palm of your hand.

Maybe the spiral is a glyph for serendipity and that is why I like it

Akaji is a part of the Kutani ceramics world, but it would appear that his philosophical designs have always been driven by his rebellious spirit. He has struggled against taking the easy way presented by tradition, banal Kutani-ware, the arguably shallow aspects of contemporary art, and outdated ideas or concepts. 

                                                                     - Spiral -

The shape of the Milky Way, of whirlwinds and whirlpools, snails and ivy tendrils-it is the form of the fundamental and mathematical energy of nature, and the pattern we, mankind, have used as a symbol of death and rebirth.  

Saturday, June 13, 2015

KEN ABBOTT : USEFUL WORK . Photographs of the Hickory Nut Gap Farm

some books/some books/some books



There is no one definitive South, each state and each region within a state has details that give meaning to its citizens ,these details bring feeling which we  call place.Even the idea of what is place changes depending on the emotional relationship shared .

In 2012 I was working on a project about the Appalachians , I want to show  more than a single perceived version .I turned to classic images of the miners lives by  Builder Levy to speak of the hardship in the mountains and hollows but Sarah Hoskins and Ken Abbott provided clearly different views.

People from outside usually concentrate on the extremes of this beautiful area but Ken took on a small portion, a working and teaching far ,which he has documented over 10 years.There is no shock of hardship,just a gentle reminder of the land being used and giving back.This book reminds us of a place we would all love to come home to. 


A review of the soon to be publish book by Alex Harris and link to a fund raiser and website

Ken Abbott’s photography and Hickory Nut Gap Farm is a marriage made in heaven, or about as close as we get to heaven here in the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina. For almost a hundred years, one extended family has lived on and created a uniquely beautiful farm and community in this place. 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.  
– Alex Harris, Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University 

Ken Abbott