Create Mississippi Photo Essay
What drew you to the medium; what inspired you; what purpose do you think it serves, what do you love about it, and what frustrates you most about it?ASo: I went to school to be a painter, but I soon realized I wasn’t very good. This is the problem with work like mine, that is more lyrical than documentary. Also like poetry, the audience for this type of work usually consists of other practitioners, other photographers (actually a rather large audience). What really frustrates me is that photography is not very good at telling stories. Novels and movies satisfy, but photographs often leave me feel like something is missing.Instead, like in a dream, you provide the viewer with a scattered assortment of fragments, which they can try to make sense of afterwards.So, my question is, would you prefer that the viewer regarded each image in ASo: Definitely the unified whole.Photo by Herbert Randall from Herbert Randall Freedom Summer Photographs collection, Mc Cain Library and Archives, the University of Southern Mississippi.Herbert Randall’s book, “Faces of Freedom Summer,” contains more images from Mississippi in 1964. The American Experience documentary Freedom Summer is airing on PBS stations. Additional video clips and information available at org/americanexperience/.Three local African-American children stand in the exhibit area of the Palmers Crossing Community Center where Freedom School students’ artwork is on exhibit.The large sign with handprints down the left wall spells “Freedom.”African-American children at the fish fry given for the volunteers by local civil rights leader Vernon Dahmer on his property at the Kelly Settlement on July 4, 1964.
Linda Beach is an award-winning fiber artist whose work has been commissioned for many public art installations as well as juried into a number of nationally prominent art exhibitions.
While in school, I attended a lecture by the photographer, Joel Sternfeld. This sort of boyish wanderlust is common in America, but it was new to me. ASc: For me, the best photographs always inspire curiosity, rather than satisfy it.
In one slide he pointed out his van, the van he had used to traverse America. I fell in love with the process of taking pictures, with wandering around finding things. I think that this ambiguity is one of the most thrilling aspects of the medium.
Of course, photographs can succeed in telling stories when they are collectively put into a narrative sequence, like in a film, or grouped into “chapters”, like in a novel.
But it seems to me that, in , you are trying to get away from overt sequencing, away from a clear narrative.