My Alabama

John Dersham Photographs a State

John Alexander Dersham

Foreword by Bo Jackson

Title Details

Pages: 224

Illustrations: 220 color photos

Trim size: 11.000in x 8.500in



Pub Date: 05/15/2019

ISBN: 9-781-5883-8340-2

List Price: $40.00


NewSouth Books

My Alabama

John Dersham Photographs a State

John Alexander Dersham

Foreword by Bo Jackson

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  • Description
  • Reviews

Alabama — what’s the state known for? Slavery, the Civil War, segregation, civil rights, football. All true. But then there’s this: the most biologically diverse state east of the Mississippi; the fifth most-forested by percent of land mass; one of the richest river complexes in the world; home to the most aquatic species in the nation, the wettest city, the largest inland delta system; five distinct physiographic regions, from coastal to prairie to piney woods to mountains to piedmont to plateau; and four real seasons. What that adds up to, if you’re as talented as master photographer John Dersham, is a canvas of spectacular beauty.

In My Alabama, Dersham presents 200 images revealing the diversity and beauty of the 22nd state as it celebrates its 200th birthday. The book is loosely organized around the four seasons, and its images are mostly landscapes, though the built environment makes appearances—from the busy port of Mobile to rural churches and schools.

No other Alabama picture book ranges across the entire state like this one, and the quality and composition of Dersham’s images are a visual feast. Captions provide location data and key facts; a few interspersed brief essays offer additional background. An index links places and themes, and a photo log reveals how specific images were made.

My Alabama: John Dersham Photographs a State is a master artist’s loving but exacting visual survey of his adopted home. Through 200 of his photos selected for the state’s 200th birthday, Dersham reveals Alabama’s striking natural beauty and ecological diversity, with occasional images of the built environment rounding out the portrait.

John Dersham’s My Alabama is a celebration of Alabama. His images capture the diversity and beauty of our landscapes, each picture telling its own story of people, places, history, and culture. His book is a thrilling, moving journey through our state. We cannot see this beloved place in the same way after experiencing it through his lens.

—Jay Lamar, Director of the Alabama Bicentennial Commission, Alabama 200

If you are lucky enough to travel all the counties in Alabama, you would experience firsthand the heart and soul of our state. If not, just turn the pages of John Dersham’s first book of photographs instead. You will discover the beautiful diversity of the Alabama landscape, from the mountains in the north to the Gulf Coast beaches of the south and the waterways that connect them. Dersham has spent a lifetime photographing Alabama. His new book speaks to his love affair with the state, a place where scenic beauty awaits you around the next curve in the road every time.

—Chip Cooper, Artist in Residence, Honors College, The University of Alabama

John Dersham's breathtaking and inspirational photography is getting its long-deserved recognition in a fitting collection that only he could master. My Alabama: John Dersham Photographs State is sure to be a treasured photography book for the ages.

—Randy Grider, Executive Director, Mentone Arts & Cultural Center

After a rewarding hour reviewing John Dersham’s images portraying life and places in Alabama as captured in his marvelous new book, I was reminded of advice from renowned early 20th-century photographer Alfred Stieglitz, who noted that any great photograph contains two seemingly opposing elements: 'a maximum of simplicity and a maximum of detail.' John is the rare photographer who makes the extra effort to be up hours before dawn, ready with camera and tripod for that first kiss of morning light, or to linger long after the sun has dropped below the horizon. His keen eye for composition and technical skills distill and refine nature’s infinite palette of colors into images that can leave the viewer breathless.

—David Haynes, photographer, author of Motorcycling Alabama

In the tourism industry, no words ring truer than 'a picture is worth a thousand words.' We rely heavily on quality images that accurately reflect the essence of a destination for our printed promotional pieces and for online promotions and advertising. When I asked John to photograph all that is great about North Alabama, he exceeded my expectations in capturing the spirit of North Alabama’s beauty. I consider every image of his a work of art. His new book will be treasured by all of us in tourism for the state of Alabama.

—Tami Reist, President & CEO, Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association

Alabama is a remarkable place, never more apparent than when seen through the lens of the talented John Dersham. His book My Alabama takes us on a rich journey, one which affords insights into the landscape and character of our state. Well done!

—Beth Maynor Finch, conservation photographer, author of Headwaters: A Journey on Alabama Rivers

About the Author/Editor

JOHN ALEXANDER DERSHAM'S photography career began on November 1, 1960, when he took his first pictures with his father's 1930 Kodak Brownie. From that modest start, his art has continued without pause for fifty-nine years. Meanwhile, Dersham made a career in the photography industry, serving in management at Eastman Kodak and its subsidiaries in multiple states for more than thirty years. His last Kodak job brought him to Alabama, where he fell in love with the state's natural beauty and varied terrain, as well as its people and places. Dersham's affinity for Alabama inspired his first published collection of photographs entitled My Alabama: John Dersham Photographs a State. He and his wife, Kyle, live on Lookout Mountain near Fort Payne in northeast Alabama. They have two children and two grandchildren.