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 (American, born 1949) 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.
In addition to over 65 prints, the exhibition includes a three-channel video piece composed from numerous stills Harris created on set, which evokes the emotional range and complex narrative techniques employed by the filmmakers he worked with. He intentionally sequenced the resulting images, pairing them with a newly commissioned score, to draw out the recurring themes prevalent in recent popular cinema.
Our Strange New Land: Photographs by Alex Harris is the latest chapter in the ongoing Picturing the South project, for which the High Museum commissions artists to create original bodies of work that offer new perspectives on the South’s social and geographical landscapes.
ABOUT ALEX HARRIS
For over forty years, Alex Harris has chronicled the lives of people throughout the world, photographing in locations as disparate as the Inuit villages of Alaska, the streets of Havana, the fish markets of Mumbai, and the farms of North Carolina. His interest in film production began in 2007 when he was invited to photograph on the set of Steven Soderbergh’s biopic Che, which was shot on location in Mexico.
In addition to his work as a photographer, Harris is a highly regarded educator and has taught since 1980 at Duke University, where he co-founded the Center for Documentary Studies in 1989. He is also an active editor and curator who has published sixteen books and curated numerous exhibitions. In 1995 he co-founded the magazine DoubleTake, which he edited until 1998.
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