Tom Rankin, director of the Center for Documentary Studies, brings southern photography into focus in our special summer issue.
"The best photographs freeze time with more depth than the cheap pages of nostalgia, capturing the pain as well as the wonder that wells up in the tension between our 'now' and the picture's 'then.' And the mixture of pain and wonder is a southern specialty."
"Photographs in the South have reflected the patterns and vicissitudes of the weather, both climatic and social-political, throughout our history. And no region's photographic tradition has been more engaged in, maybe even obsessed with, exploring and reflecting the injuries and scars of time—brought on more specifically by war, bondage, discrimination, class conflicts, and the ravages of nature, to name a few forces—than photography in the American South."
"I approach these things as a moralist, really, because honesty and truth are moral values, but beauty is something else. And it's a word that should be used damn carefully."
"He documented tornadoes and floods of biblical proportions, a fire at a cotton mill and fires in the downtown business district, train wrecks and celebrities such as world heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey, Columbus native son playwright Tennessee Williams, and the parents of celebrated writer Truman Capote."
"He wasn't a professional photographer, but he was Kernersville's unofficial documentarian, and the hundreds of images he left behind portray a small Piedmont North Carolina community in the 1930s and 1940s."
"You'd better turn on CNN; looks like your house is on fire."
"I was living in Boston and Buffalo in those years, and no prison director in either of those states ever let me beyond the sally port without a guard watching me every moment and listening to every word I said or that anyone said to me. Neither of those states let me bring a camera inside."
". . . someone picks up a snapshot and says, just before tossing it to oblivion, 'My god, who are these quaint people?'"
Pineapple Press, Inc., 2005
"Our publication is better for her suggestions, and it would be better still if we had been up to the job of taking more of them."