Over the past weekend I had the pleasure of being a part Slow Exposures 2017. In it's fifteenth year, Slow Exposures continues to display and promote photography of the Southern United States. If you've been following my work over the past few years, you know this was right up my alley and a perfect fit.
Outside of the many events, pop-up shows, and gatherings, there were many things that came to my attention through talks and discussions while in attendance. Combined with the work of the other talented photographers included in the show, the discussions I was a part of brought me many new ways of seeing the work of others, my own work, and where the various thoughts and perceptions of the modern south seem to be.
The last event I attended was a juror's talk on Sunday, and this was a perfect way to wrap up an interesting weekend. Beyond what I learned from other photographers about their work and process, it was a true pleasure to find out how the selection process was executed. This not only gave me an idea of why we all were accepted, but also gave me insight into things that I need to be considering in the long-term project I've been working on. One of the jurors mentioned that in the least of current events before and after the selection, he was very intent on not having any Confederate Flags or anything that seemed to focus on a nostalgia for a checkered past. Although there were images that had references to an idea of the past and nostalgia (mine was one of those!), the main idea was to represent what the south is today. It was this idea that has resonated the most with me and captured my mind for the past few days.
As I have jumped back into "work mode" since getting back home, I have been constantly thinking about how this idea of the present day south fits into my own ideas that consciously are driven by a sense of personal nostalgia. On the surface, all these images ARE the present day. The ideas that drive them are mine and are situated in how I feel today, even if instigated by thoughts of things past. As I've noted in the past, even the Confederate Flag is harder to find these days than it was fifteen to twenty years ago. What I've come to realize in these few days thinking about this concept of the present-day south is that even in the places where the concept of heritage is the strongest, change is present, powerful, and unstoppable.
If nothing else, the ideas and realizations I've had over the past few days have been enlightening. I truly think that I have a better idea of what it is my subconscious has been driving me towards in the photographic journey I've been on recently. With a new way of thinking, I can't with to return to shooting and seeing things with a continued vigor.
I want to say thanks to all the people who made Slow Exposures possible. Again, it was a true pleasure and an honor to be selected as a part of this year's group of artists. If anyone is interested in seeing the show and has the time or ability to get there, it will we up in LaGrange, GA, at the Cochran Gallery through October 18.