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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Ben Depp’s Bayou’s End is the result of three years “flying above the bayous and wetlands of southern Louisiana in a powered paraglider,” taking aerial photographs from thousands of feet above the ground. Depp spends hours at a time in the air, waiting for just the right moment to capture the “spaces where the geometric patterns of human enterprise—canals, oil platforms, pipelines and roads—collide with nature’s organic forms.”
The Drake Equation explores a unique space in West Virginia—one that overlaps with the “National Radio Quiet Zone,” a 13,000-square-mile area where radio transmissions are heavily limited to allow for the investigation of extraterrestrial life by enormous telescopes and monitoring devices.
In Ponce City Market: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of Atlanta’s Largest Building, Blake Burton documents the transformation of the Sears, Roebuck & Company building in Atlanta into the newly restored Ponce City Market. Burton presents “behind-the-scenes views of one of the largest adaptive reuse projects in the country.” What began as “casual exploration soon morphed into a passionate desire to document the historic transformation of an architectural treasure.”
Richard Schramm captures the town of Enfield, North Carolina—a place that is currently “looking back so that it can look ahead.” Enfield has a rich agricultural history, but like many towns of its kind, mid-twentieth century mechanization upended the local economy. Today, Enfield is home to many abandoned storefronts and warehouses.