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.
In Florida’s Waterfront Wonderland Sean Salyards turns his lens to the real estate developments in Cape Coral, Florida. The series was inspired by Salyards’s late grandfather—a longtime resident of the Cape—as well as his father, who died of cancer in 2007.
Inspired by stories of Hurricane Camille, which devastated the Mississippi coast in 1969, Thomas Pearson explores the ways that communities collectively navigate natural disasters. In Flesh Like Grass Pearson focuses on the tornado-ravaged town of Columbia, Mississippi, as well as the post-Katrina landscape of the Gulf Coast.
In “Shiny Ghost,” Rachel Cox photographs her grandmother over the last few years of her life as she struggled with a degenerative brain disease. Through this series, Cox was able to confront the unsettling emotions sewn into their relationship, and finally came to understand how mutual vulnerability and trust could restore their connection.
Cole Caswell’s photography explores the lives of people who live off the conventional grid, such as a homeless DIY punk couch-surfing in Savannah and a retired stock trader/primitive-skills-master hiding out on a swampy homestead. Caswell develops his images, all tintypes, on the road in a hand-built portable darkroom.
Rising from the artist’s interest in photography and oral history, Tall Timbers is a visual and verbal project. Sass’s goal is both to document the dwellings where tenant farmers once lived, and to hear the stories of the families who contributed extensively to the history of Southern agriculture.
What will happen when humanity pushes itself to the brink of extinction? That’s the question posed by Corey George in “Alas, Babylon,” a series of photographs documenting Florida’s vast underpopulated suburbs. Slowly yet relentlessly, nature is reclaiming places like Lehigh Acres, with its 100,000 empty lots and 10,000 miles of unused roads. “One day,” George says, “these roads will be gone, and this land will go back to being Florida scrubland and forest.”
Once a thriving port during the Civil War, Hopewell hasn’t seen its heyday since. Today it struggles to keep its economy afloat and the local grocery stores in business, but, unlike many American cities, Hopewell isn’t on the decline. In fact it has been about the same my whole life—a small, unchanging factory town in central Virginia.