I have been a photographer for over two decades, working on documenting the rites and rituals of the Southeast United States for over ten years.
Originally starting an undergraduate degree in Arts Management at Columbia College Chicago, I quickly turned to photography after my first photo course. I studied under many amazing photographers like Bob Thall and Barbara Kasten. After graduation, I was hired as the Digital Imaging Coordinator for the department. While managing one of the largest photo digital labs in the country, I helped faculty, like Paul D’Amato, and students, like Brian Ulrich, make their work while making my own. During this time I had several solo shows of my pinhole photography including one at the Chicago Cultural Center and one at the Sioux City Art Center. I was awarded four Community Arts grants for my projects during this time.
In 2007, I moved to Tennessee to finish my Master’s Degree in Photography with Mike Smith at East Tennessee State University. In the rolling hills, I found my calling with portraiture and the American South. The university awarded me several Graduate Research Grants to cover travel expenses.
I began documenting the tourist area around the Great Smoky Mountains. It is the most visited national park with even more people visiting the surrounding towns. Following the 2007 economic crisis, it was a time when many older attractions began closing and new ideas were tried for survival. The old symbols of the hillbilly and Dolly Parton and bears were still there while the replica of the Titanic crashed into the parkway.
After a couple years, I expanded to the rites and rituals of the surrounding areas. During this time I was an Assistant Professor at Virginia Intermont and then at King University where I designed the curriculum and started a new degree program in photography for them. I photographed burnout contests, civil war reenactments, county fairs, the Redneck Olympics, small town July 4th parades, and more.
For this work, I was named one of the “100 under 100: The New Superstars of Southern Art” by Oxford American magazine with Diana Stohl, former senior editor at Aperture Magazine writing the text as the person who nominated me. I continued to exhibit at places like the William King Museum, the Annenberg Space for Photography, and Atlanta Photography Group Gallery. During this time, I was also being shown in major publications like CNN Photos, NPR Big Picture Show, Daily Mail, Guardian UK, Southern Cultures, and more.
In 2014, I moved to New Orleans after being a speaker on a panel about Photobooks for PhotoNOLA. Since 2011, I have been publishing small run artist books including a monthly series for the year 2012. In New Orleans, I continued my work on rites and rituals, gravitating to the small town festivals that celebrate industry like the Rayne Frog Festival and the Morgan City Shrimp and Petroleum Festival.
In town, I have exhibited at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art several times and at the various galleries on Saint Claude Avenue. As an artist member of Antenna Gallery, I regularly exhibit, curate, and publish. I designed and curated the work for the book Polo Silk “Pop That Thang”- a book that highlights Polo’s work in the Uptown Bounce scene for the last thirty years. I received a Platforms Fund grant in 2015 to support a project about art and the gender wage gap. I continue to get shows nationally, like at Tracey Morgan Gallery and the Virginia Museum of
Contemporary Art. I am honored to be included in the upcoming exhibition, “Southbound: Photographs of and About the New South” that will originate at the Halsey Institute in Charelston which includes a book and traveling exhibition.
My work is the in collections of the Polaroid Corporation , Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans, and Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University along with many private collections.