Sacred Harp Singing

By  |  January 19, 2016
“Liberty Hill Church, Barnesville, Georgia” | All photos by Johnathon Kelso “Liberty Hill Church, Barnesville, Georgia” | All photos by Johnathon Kelso

Artist: Johnathon Kelso

Project: I Want to Die A-Shouting

Description: Johnathon Kelso’s series I Want to Die A-Shouting documents the tradition of shape-note singing (also known as Sacred Harp) throughout the South. This custom—which employs a distinctive musical notation of four shapes (triangle, circle, square, and diamond) corresponding to four notes (fa, so, la, and mi)—has been fervently preserved through the generations and is gaining renewed momentum among younger singers from all over the country, including Kelso. His photo “Liberty Hill Church, Barnesville, Georgia,” above, appears in our Georgia Music issue.


Eyes on the South is curated by Jeff Rich. The weekly series features selections of current work from Southern artists, or artists whose photography concerns the South. To submit your work to the series, email Jeff at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Johnathon Kelso is an Atlanta-based artist whose past work has documented varying expressions of Christianity in the South. His new project, As God is My Witness, takes a closer look at Sons of Confederate Veterans groups and the current stigmas that surround their longstanding identity. See more of his work at www.johnathonkelso.com.