Shipley and Dolezal: Devil’s Promenade

By  |  October 12, 2014

Antone Dolezal and Lara Shipley have been busy with their ongoing project, Devil's Promenadehaving just released the second volume of their work this past summer. The third volume, We Always Lie to Strangers, will be available in November. Their work, which focuses on the "spooklight" phenomenon in the Ozark Hills, is currently on exhibit at 555 Gallery in Boston.

Of their work, Shipley and Dolezal say,

The Ozarks are a place you feel. The dark nooks to hide, made in encroaching woods and the banks of rivers, the smell of wet life and decay, a steady insect hum, all create a backdrop for a people with a particular fascination for the mysteries of darkness and light. Here some of the oldest stories of humanity are told—wanderer’s lost souls and paths taken towards good or evil—but with a local twist in the tale of a strange orb of light.

Devil’s Promenade is a project about our home region that blends folklore and local history with our present day photographs of Ozark people, the land, and interpretive images based on the living mythology of the Light. These photographs are combined with oral accounts, short fiction, and found photographs from the region’s past in the three part book series Spook Light Chronicles. Our aim is not to provide documentation or an explanation of the phenomenon, but to suggest a narrative that, in the spirit of the light, is part fixed in this unique region and part afloat in a mysterious, otherworldly realm.

Lara Shipley and Antone Dolezal are originally from the Ozark region of the Midwest. They are collaborators on Devil’s Promenade, which uses Ozark folklore as a basis for a project that combines photographs with fictional stories, oral histories, found artifacts and video. Spook Light Chronicles is an accompanying three volume book series being released in 2014. Devil’s Promenade has been featured on National Public Radio, Oxford American, VICE, and Mosselss Magazine and the books and prints from this series are held in various collections including the British Library (London) and the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago).

Lara Shipley received an MFA in photography from Arizona State University. She currently teaches photography at the University of Kansas.

Antone Dolezal has a BFA from the College of Santa Fe and is currently a freelance photographer and writer residing in Santa Fe, NM.

Jeff Rich is a photographer based in Iowa City. His work focuses on water issues ranging from recreation and sustainability to exploitation and abuse. Jeff currently teaches photography at the University of Iowa. He curates the OA’s weekly photo series, Eyes on the South.