Monday, September 29, 2014

Highlights from: Slow Exposures

Install Image by Ann George

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the photography event Slow Exposures in Pike County, Georgia. It was a weekend packed with nontraditional photography events, like pop-up exhibitions, soirees with three legged dogs, and late night cabin critiques. After an exciting (and tiring!) weekend, I highly suggest heading to this event next year, and entering the annual juried exhibition.

Here are a few highlights:

Install Image by Ann George

"The Posse" Pop-up Exhibition 
Time, Place, and Eternity: Flannery O’Connor and the Craft of Photography
Anne Berry, Ann George, Bryce Lankard, S. Gayle Stevens, and Lori Vrba

Exhibition Statement from the artists:

The writer [photographer] operates at a particular crossroads where time and place and eternity somehow meet. His problem is to find that location” (59):  A photographer need only substitute nouns: photographer for writer and photograph for story, to understand how Flannery O’Connor’s thoughts on the craft of writing apply to the art of photography. This year, which marks the fifty-year anniversary of her death, five southern photographers pay tribute to Flannery O’Connor by creating a pop-up exhibit in the barn at Split Oak Farm in Zebulon, GA as part of Slow Exposures, A Juried Exhibition Celebrating Photography of the Rural South. This exhibit follows the Posse’s 2013 pop up, Hay Now, which New York curator John Bennette called “the most brilliant installation ever to come down 109:” In his words, “My breath was swept away. I said, ‘hallelujah, something wonderful has come to this town.” Time, Place, and Eternity explores five aspects in Flannery O’Connor’s writings that relate to the craft of photography: Grace, Mystery, Manners, Gesture, and Habit. We are opening the exhibit at SlowExposures, and our goal is for it to travel to other venues throughout the coming year.

Eliot Dudik 
On This Land I See Heroes and Saints
Curated by John A. Bennette

Exhibition Statement from Slow Exposures: 

"This unique exhibition combines related bodies of work by Elliot Dudik: Broken Land and Still Lives. Mr. Bennette was inspired by Mr.Dudik’s images and ideas as well as The Good Lord Bird: A Novel by James McBride, winner of the 2013 National Book Award. It is an inspired and imaginative retelling of the events around abolitionist John Brown’s cause from the perspective of 12 year-old Henry Shackleford, a Kansas slave Brown mistakes for a girl. Henry, living in disguise joins the band of abolitionists and bears witness to meetings with Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, as well as the raid on Harpers Ferry.

Mr. Dudik’s work is timely, or maybe timeless, as it deals with a subject that has plagued man for generations: War. At the time of the Civil War, photography was coming into its own. The elements of War: battles, casualties, the land and the pre-battle keepsakes became one of the first subjects of importance recorded with this new technology.As a direct result of the Civil War, America was reborn at the beginning of the 20th century—it was to be The American Century when the nation rose from the ashes of war.

Broken Land is a meditation on key battle sites that will evoke conversations. Dudik’s thought processes are revealed through his artist statement, “These photographs are an attempt to preserve American History, not relish it, but to recognize its cyclical nature and derail that seemingly inevitable tendency for repetition.”

Still Lives is a photo essay of Civil War re-enactors, people from all walks of life coming together, for many reasons, to preserve history to the best of their abilities. This photo essay is an ongoing series of portraits, which have stories to tell and memories to give, that places the viewer at the critical moment on the battlefields."

McNair Evans
Confessions for a Son
Winner of the Conlan Prize for First Place in Slow Exposures 2013

Project Statement from the artist: 

There was no man that my father admired more than his father, and no one his father admired more than the man who raised him. With tenderness of heart and warm humor my father met everyone as his equal.

Upon his death in November 2000, I was exposed to our family business’s insolvency. Dad faced a series of devastating fires, bad crops, perpetual over- extension and high-interest loans. Five generations of familial and financial stability fractured. While the economic effects were immediately obvious, the emotional implications lingered beneath the surface for nine years.

In 2010 I returned home to photograph the lasting psychological landscape of Dad’s legacy. Retracing my father’s life, I used photography to comprehend its events. Visiting the farms where we hunted, his college dorm rooms, and his oldest friends, I photographed his family members and businesses while researching his character and actions. I could not equate these.

Initially confused and angry, I grew to know him as a teenager, college student, co-worker, life-long friend, and father who lovingly withheld business realities. I witnessed shortcomings and successes and found empathy with a man who faced so much in his life. His sacrifices cost the ultimate price, and accepting that some questions may never be answered, I grew to love him again.

Confessions for a Son juxtaposes these photographs with those taken by my father roughly 40 years ago. Photographs from family archives and experimental practices join to explore this complex relationship between father and son. These works share my emotions after his death, my search to learn more abut him in recent years, and the journey of acceptance and forgiveness.

These pictures are my way of saying its OK. Everything that happened is done and it’s OK. They are my way of taking ownership of everything that I felt, and all the anger and all the shame, and saying, “Yes, I felt that, and it’s OK to feel that, and I still love you.”

Aline Smithson and Alex Dilworth discussing second place winner, Aaron Blum at the juror talk

Photography of the Rural South

Exhibition Statement from Slow Exposures:

"Every photographer has had the experience of seeing an image and passing it by. We did not stop the car, turn around, go back….interrupt that conversation… take the photograph that was there right in front of our eyes. Many such “I wish I had taken the time” moments dot our shared lives as photographers. And whether we live in the rural south, or visit and pass thru the southern countryside, we all see the evidence of a disappearing rural lifestyle, architecture and way of life that has historically existed in small southern towns, homes and lives for decades.

Slow Exposures began and continues to be a unifying platform to challenge photographers to not only stop, turn the car around and take photographs of this south that is fading away – sometimes gently, sometimes harshly – but to also actively seek out and preserve thru photography, the South today.

Photographs tell stories. Photographs document a window into our present – which becomes the future generations past – and as time capsules, are priceless gifts to ourselves.

SlowExposures honors this mission and I am proud to continue to support this photographic tradition." --Gary Gruby

1 comment:

  1. fantastic wrap up. and congrats on your success there as well!!!