The American South represents a particularly rich bounty of imagery for photographers to capture. Few regions of the country cover so much fertile territory and so much human diversity. From the swamps and bayous of Louisiana and the hardscabble Appalachians, to the neon swagger of cities such as Nashville and Atlanta, there seems to be an unending variety of subject matter.
The High Museum of Art in Atlanta began to mine these rich tapestries in 1996, simultaneously building its photographic collection and exhibiting new photography with its “Picturing the South” program. Since then, it has commissioned a variety of photographers to capture the modern South with “no strings attached.”
The most recent exhibit, which is on display through Sept. 2, features the diverse work of three contemporary artists recently commissioned by the High. Martin Parr, an internationally established British photographer known for his satirical approach to observing popular culture, developed a project on the urban areas of Atlanta. Mid-career documentarian Kael Alford trained her camera on a remote community in the disappearing wetlands of Louisiana’s coast. And Shane Lavalette, an emerging artist, used his powerfully lyrical style to explore the rich musical culture of the South.
Also on view are works by Richard Misrach, including some undeveloped photos from his 1998 commission, along with recent images, in an exhibit entitled “Revisiting the South: Richard Misrach’s Cancer Alley,” which runs through Oct. 14.
In a companion exhibit that takes viewers from the Deep South to the Big Apple, the High is also featuring “Picturing New York,” 150 photographs of the city and its people from the collection of the Museum of Modern Art by some of the most important photographers of our time.
“Picturing the South”
Through Sept. 2
High Museum of Art
1280 Peachtree St. N.E.