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Subjects: Photography

Photo Essay

A Real Evidence of Community

Poll Worker Portraits in the North Carolina Piedmont

by Kate Medley

As Georgia poll workers came under fire for alleged election fraud in the 2020 presidential election, the accusations stood in stark contrast to my own experiences as a poll worker in North Carolina during the same election. I had signed myself up in response to the urgent plea for poll workers amidst the pandemic, when »


Dawoud Bey’s Meditations on History and Vision

by Grace Elizabeth Hale

Dawoud Bey’s Untitled (The Light on the Trail) could be anywhere that is warm and wet enough to produce this tangle of plant life. But stay still in front of this photograph and really look.  Somehow all of the wild growth frames an opening. And inside that rough circle, the light spirals clockwise toward the »

Photo Essay

Blood Harmony

by Rebecca Bengal, Kristine Potter

“They drive by an old-timey church with one door for the men and a separate door for the women and a graveyard out back where the stones pop up like teeth in the night.” When Charlie sings, her sister Audra’s voice follows, the voice of a grown woman inside a little-girl body, high and lonesome »

Photo Essay

What Has Been Will Be Again

by Jared Ragland, Catherine Wilkins

Scholars Eric Savoy and Robert Martin describe American Gothic as a “discursive field in which a metonymic national ‘self’ is undone by the return of its repressed Otherness.” In What Has Been Will Be Again (2020–2022), photographer Jared Ragland underscores the significance not only of his art form but of place as an important contributor »

Photo Essay


Environmental and Social Collapse along the Louisiana Coast

by Daniel Kariko

For the last few years, northward breezes have pushed more water from the Gulf onto the land—breaching marshes, overtopping the banks of bayous, and flooding roadways and people’s yards. Some of the submerged roads are the only ways in and out of narrow bayou-side communities strung along South Louisiana. Louisiana is at the forefront of »

Photo Essay

Snapshot: Climate

by Southern Cultures

The Snapshot: Climate issue features more than 60 photographs and accompanying short reflections from artists, activists, photojournalists, and scientists to provide a “snapshot” look at climate impacts across the South. As climatologist Angel Hsu writes in the issue’s introduction, we set out with this issue to make the “invisible visible,” “using images and words from the »


Records of Light

by Grace Elizabeth Hale

This essay is part of our Shutter art and photography series. “Called to the Camera: Black American Studio Photographers” is on view at the New Orleans Museum of Art, September 16, 2022–January 8, 2023, and “The Photographs of Ralph Eugene Meatyard” at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, October 1, 2022–January 15, 2023. Because we can make »

Photo Essay

Walking with Ella Watson

Photography, Interiority, and the Spiritual Church Movement in the Work of Gordon Parks

by Jovonna Jones

In 1942, Ms. Ella Watson of Washington, DC, spent her summer nights in the halls of the nation’s capital, where she had been working for twenty-six years. The government charwoman went to work at 5:30 p.m. in federal buildings, cleaning floors, toilets, and such, then heading home by 2:30 a.m. On one of these nights, »


An Edible North Carolina History

Excerpt from Edible North Carolina

by Marcie Cohen Ferris

In January of 2019, I began a “listening tour” across North Carolina as editor of Edible North Carolina, work that started in my food studies teaching at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The vision for this book was to create a portrait of North Carolina’s vibrant contemporary food landscape. I chose twenty »


An Uncommon Arrangement

A review of "Picturing the South: 25 Years"

by Grace Elizabeth Hale

Imagine the thrill. A letter drops through a mail slot, the phone rings, or your email pings. The message contains a beautiful proposition. Atlanta’s High Museum will give you a not unsubstantial amount of money. In return, you agree to make photographs in the South. Otherwise, you can do whatever you want, knowing that your »


The Dirt

A review of “The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse”

by Grace Elizabeth Hale

This is a review of “The Dirty South” at the VMFA where it originated and hung until September 6, 2021. The show is now on view at the Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, through February 6, 2022, and images in this feature are courtesy of that museum. Later, it will travel to Crystal Bridges Museum of »


Looking for Abolition

by Tiffany E. Barber, Adrian. L. Burrell

Oakland-born artist Adrian L. Burrell is a light worker. Using lens-based media that require light to function (primarily photography and film), the artist has traversed various “Souths”—from the local to the global, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Nicaragua, Brazil, Nigeria, Senegal, and South Africa—to spotlight instances of struggle and self-determination. Burrell’s family history, along with his own »