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Monday, October 18, 2010

More Celebrating Photography in Atlanta

The first night I arrived to town, after all the galleries and the High Museum, we were invited to dinner at the house of two Atlanta collectors. We drove out of the city into a landscape of woods and gigantic mansions of dubious design, until we came across a modernist house and knew we had arrived at the right place. Their house was full of Tina Barney, Andreas Serrano, Annie Leibovitz, Larry Sultan, Jenny Holzer and many others. What a treat! And what a fantastic finish to our day.
We looked at their collection and ate and had a splendid time. Then it was back to the hotel to prepare for a full day of portfolio reviews.

In all I reviewed thirteen photographers the next day. It was great to see regional work and get a sense of what people are doing outside of New York. Besides, everyone was so gracious and personable that I couldn't have had a better time. Even though it is a lot of work.

There were several personal projects of a very emotional nature that were striking, like Sara Keith (above) who uses a pinhole camera in an attempt to document the small, familiar features that make her grandfather( who suffers from Alzheimer's) come alive and remember who he was talking to.

Vicki Hunt moved back to her family farm in a poor, rural district in Alabama and befriended her neighbors who she photographed on their porches. Even more impressive, Vicki began talking with people about their daily lives and discovered so much need in terms of food, books, blankets and the like, that she is now working to bring these and other necessary things to the people of her community.

Jimmy Williams has been photographing Southern musicians over the years for his Music Makers Series. These strong, expressive portraits capture years of deep felt emotions and reflect Williams' love for the people and the music.

For John May, it's all about small town wrestling bouts, and the people who frequent them. He has a great eye for emotions and the strange juxtapositions of a scene that sometimes teeters on the edge of chaos.

Susan Barnett says, "By photographing from the back these pictures try to challenge the time-honored tradition of a portrait being of the face and tests whether body type, dress and demeanor can tell us just as much as a facial expression might."

My trip to Atlanta ended with an exquisite dinner with my fellow reviewers and Amy Miller and Michael David Murphy of ACP. I think all of us will agree we had a wonderful time and hope to do it again next year.

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