While museums around the globe are closed to the public, we are spotlighting each day an inspiring exhibition that was previously on view. Even if you can’t see it in person, allow us to give you a virtual look.
What the museum says: “The American South has become a nexus of film production in the United States. By 2016, more major features were being shot in Georgia than in California. Alex Harris began photographing this wave of filmmaking, focusing his attention on independent productions that were under way from Louisiana to Virginia. Our collective idea of the South has largely been shaped by great storytellers—whether novelists, musicians, or photographers—who endeavored to articulate the layered character of this strange land.”
Why it’s worth a look: In this series, scholar and photographer Alex Harris gives a glimpse at life in the American South, in all its contradictions. “We are all actors in our own lives, creating our sets, practicing our lines, refining our characters, performing ourselves,” the artist has said, and with the 65 photos in this exhibition, he attempts to capture a behind-the-scenes look at that stagecraft of the self, turning his lens to the production itself.
While a prolific photographer, Harris also co-founded the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, and his interest in turning an unbiased eye on society is evident, though viewers will surely project their own emotions and hang ups onto the scenes.
Understanding that our collective view of the “South” is an accumulation of stereotypes, dramatic vistas, and cultural rifts that have largely been the creation of popular culture makes it difficult to see these images as pure documents of fact, despite the obvious difference between fictional stages and the reality of the mechanics that power them.