My 19th Century Plague-Inspired Photos to be Exhibited
I recently received word from the A Smith Gallery in Johnson City, Texas that two of my photographs, “The Anxiety of Love” and “In Memory of My Children, New Orleans 1853” were accepted into a group exhibition.
Both of these prints are part of a collection that has been tentatively called *New Orleans 1853*, which is about the effects of the Yellow Fever epidemic that beat the South to pieces during the years between 1795 and 1905. The project was inspired by a tragedy I discovered during a walk through one of my favorite local cemeteries.
While visiting Lafayette Cemetery in the Garden District, I happened to stop in front of a crypt with a list of names of young children belonging to the same family. They had all died within 3-5 years of each other. I couldn’t say for sure whether they had died from Yellow Fever but the years corresponded with one of the many epidemics that had struck the area. Above the names of these children were those of a husband and wife -- the father and mother. I couldn’t imagine the great tragedy that had befallen this family. To lose so many young ones to an enemy that could not be fought.
These photographs are a fictional interpretation of these historical events. On the pages of books, the Yellow Fever is described with a distant voice; a recount of history. I want to bring the details, to life and resurrect the dead to allow them to share their story. The photographs will be accompanied by visual documentation of actual Yellow Fever quarantine sites that are accessible only by boat. I’ll be working alongside archaeologist Brian Oshtahowski who has identified these villages through old records and maps. The artifacts left behind provide a haunting coda to an understated event, perhaps too terrible in the memory of our country to recount in grammar school history lessons.
Framed prints of “The Anxiety of Love” and “In Memory of My Children” will be available for sale at the gallery. It is a soft debut for this project, which I hope will eventually see many more showings within the next few years.
Here are the pertinent dates for this group exhibition, just in case you find yourself in the Austin/Johnson City, Texas area:
**A Smith Gallery**
103 N. Nugent Avenue
Johnson City, Texas
Exhibition: December 22, 2017
Reception: January 27, 2018
Last Day: February 11, 2018
*“The Anxiety of Love” has been published by Musee Magazine, The Coffin Factory (who awarded it with a first prize in their photography competition). The print, “In Memory of My Children, New Orleans 1853” has not yet been released, which makes is making its debut for any medium.*