Never Returning

By  |  May 15, 2018
© Ryan Steed © Ryan Steed

Artist: Ryan Steed

Project: Went Out for Cigarettes

Description: The images in Ryan Steed’s Went Out for Cigarettes span four Southern states but are occupied by a common “physical and psychological landscape” shaped by the act of travel itself. Marked by the omnipresence of roadside signs and messages scrawled on windows and walls, Steed’s project is concerned with the witness and discovery inherent in any journey. His photos are suffused with the fraught, ineffable pull to wander out your door in search of cigarettes or coffee, a miracle or a drink, and never return: lost in a landscape that possesses, entices, and torments all at once. Walker Evans wrote: “I can understand why Southerners are haunted by their own landscape and in love with it.” Steed’s photographs are a record of just such a complex devotion.


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, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Ryan Steed is a Memphis-based photographer and educator. He completed an MFA in Photography at Memphis College of Art, where he currently teaches darkroom and social documentary photography. He has recently exhibited work in Memphis, Little Rock, Portland, Minneapolis, and Brooklyn, and his work has been published by Aint-Bad and Number:Inc.