Reckonings and Reconstructions
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Reckonings and Reconstructions

Southern Photography from the Do Good Fund

Edited by Jeffrey Richmond-Moll

Introduction by Jeffrey Richmond-Moll

Title Details

Pages: 250

Illustrations: 155 color and b&w photos

Trim size: 9.500in x 11.500in



Pub Date: 09/30/2022

ISBN: 9-781-9466-5714-5

List Price: $51.95

Subsidies and Partnerships

A copublication of Georgia Museum of Art and the University of Georgia Press

Published with the generous support of Bradley Hale Fund for Southern Studies

Reckonings and Reconstructions

Southern Photography from the Do Good Fund

Edited by Jeffrey Richmond-Moll

Introduction by Jeffrey Richmond-Moll

Photographs and essays that tease apart the tangled cultural memory of the American South

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  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Contributors

“Can photography help extend our understanding of the South and see the region in a broader American context?” writes essayist and southern literature scholar W. Ralph Eubanks in Reckonings and Reconstructions. “Yes, but what we see in an image often depends on what we already know.”

Reckonings and Reconstructions is a visual and textual investigation of southern photography since World War II. The book and its partner exhibition present 125 color photographs from the Do Good Fund by a wide-ranging group of 77 photographers, diverse in gender, race, ethnicity, and region.

W. Ralph Eubanks addresses southern memory and the ethics of photography. Grace Elizabeth Hale considers the role of Athens, Georgia—with its vibrant community of photographers, renowned photography program at the University of Georgia, and celebrated alternative art and music scene—within the history of southern photography. The essays that follow by Jasmine Amussen, Rosalind Bentley, Lauren Henkin, Jeffrey Richmond-Moll, RaMell Ross, and Jeff Whetstone examine expansive and internally paradoxical themes: land, labor, law and protest, migration, food, ritual, and kin.

Together, these themes link disparate works in the Do Good collection and capture southern history, culture, and identity in all its complexity and contradictions. With the photographs as their backbone, these essays help construct and deconstruct each thematic category, resisting notions of the South as a retrograde region and instead presenting the ever-changing qualities of the place and its people. A region where despair and hope, terror and beauty, pain and joy, and trauma and dignity coexist and comingle. A place seeking reconciliation and restoration, captured by photographers with a vision of a “Better South.”

These images inspire the viewer to see a connection between this region below the Mason–Dixon Line and the
rest of the country that lies above that archaic artificial border.

—W. Ralph Eubanks, author of A Place Like Mississippi: A Journey Through a Real and Imagined Literary Landscape

There is no Athens school of photography. They are simply artists who live and make work there, part of a
creative community that exists because of the university and the scene. Their best pictures do what all great art
does: they help us see.

—Grace Elizabeth Hale, author of Cool Town: How Athens, Georgia, Launched Alternative Music and Changed American Culture

Jasmine Amussen

Rosalind Bentley

W. Ralph Eubanks

Grace Elizabeth Hale

Lauren Henkin

Jeffrey Richmond-Moll

RaMell Ross

Alan Rothschild Jr.

Jeff Whetstone

About the Author/Editor

JEFFREY RICHMOND-MOLL is the curator of American art at the Georgia Museum of Art and cochair of the Association of Historians of American Art. He is the author of the exhibition catalog Extra Ordinary: Magic, Mystery, and Imagination in American Realism. His work has also been published in several journals, such as Archives of American Art Journal, MAVCOR Journal, and Winterthur Portfolio: A Journal of American Material Culture. He lives in Athens, Georgia.