I grew up in Newnan, Georgia. It’s the quintessential tiny Southern town, with an abandoned square, strip malls and a few county buildings. My earliest memories involve a meat and three place called Golden’s, red Georgia clay, a big church community, long drives to visit relatives and cloyingly humid summers.
In high school, I moved not so far away to Tennessee, where I found my true Southern home. My grandmother’s people were from the Tennessee mountains; a haunting, fog-filled, Appalachian place with poetry seeping out of the seams. It was there that I plugged into that dark, dreamer side I had always had. Roaming the uncut hills alone with my newfound camera, I plugged into my love of light. Here, I heard the ballads in my heart and learned to love stillness through images.
Some people disparage the South; they think it’s an antiquated place, lost in the past and buried in old hate. It’s true; we do live in the shadows of a terrible war, abominable injustices and crushing poverty.
But to me, being Southern means to belong to a rich culture; soul-wrenching music, gritty art, beautiful architecture; this is what a Southern creative brings to the world. Southerners believe in honoring the past; preserving the good and learning from the bad. The South means quality and craftsmanship; the perfect pair of ancient worn jeans, your grandmother’s rocking chair, your great-grandfather’s tools; things are made to last. Being Southern also means that God + people are more important than yourself. No matter where I go, the South is always my base; it’s my point of reference.
The word photography is a Greek word literally meaning, “painting with light.” I’m always facing South; because I always love painting with this light.
φῶς (phōs), "light" & γραφή (graphé)
NOUN the art or practice of taking and processing photographs. Literally:
painting with light.