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.
Tianran Qin’s Billboards transforms “billboards into bodies of light to enhance their existence and critique their significance in consumer culture.” By utilizing long-term exposure, Qin floods the billboards in his images with light, essentially erasing the individual advertisements they contain and instead rendering them shining icons of consumerism.
Peyton Fulford’s Infinite Tenderness explores notions “of intimacy and identity among the LGBTQ+ community in the American South.” Her images, which often depict young people in pairs or groups, and bodies in intimate poses of flux, suggest the vulnerability inherent in “growing up and identifying oneself.”
Isabelle Baldwin’s Sleepy Time Down South depicts a quiet “life protected by the mountains,” and embraces the wash of romantic nostalgia that sometimes colors childhood when we recollect it as adults. Inspired by Louis Armstrong’s 1930s track, “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South,” her photographs are sun-drenched and peaceful.
The images in Matthew Genitempo’s Jasper capture the faces, lives, and daily landscapes of men who have chosen to sequester themselves in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas and Missouri. Attuned to the allure of “running away from the every day,” Genitempo’s project occupies the hazy space “between fact and fiction.”
Bradley Marshall’s Hearing Through Walls is a photographic “exploration into American masculinity, lost youth, and domesticity.” The project often pairs the familiar with the unknown, involving childhood friends alongside relative strangers, and images of places to which Marshall has a deep personal attachment presented alongside photographs of new territory.
Rory Doyle’s Delta Quinceañera is “part of a larger body of work documenting Latino immigration in the rural Mississippi Delta over the last five years.” These images of a single Quinceañera, which shepherd the viewer from a Mass held in a young woman’s honor to a “dance party held in Cleveland, Mississippi’s local Army National Guard Armory,” convey the particular mix of grand, joyful celebration and deep, solemn importance that marks the transition from childhood to womanhood throughout Latin America.
Brett Schenning’s Small Towns, Big Dreams examines the effects 2008’s Great Recession had on rural American communities. Schenning is interested in what was left behind when many families who had settled in small towns “looking for a quieter way of life” were forced to move closer to urban centers and the employment possibilities they offered, and his photographs focus, in part, on that absence.