New Work in American Photography 31

Untitled, Natchez, Mississippi

Untitled, Natchez, Mississippi © Susana Raab 2015

Untitled, Natchez, Mississippi

I have been remiss in sharing the news that I had a couple of images chosen for AP31.  The first is a new project I have been working on intermittently in Natchez, Mississippi and involves a lot of fine Paris china.  The South is such loaded territory for photographers. On one hand, there is this sort of fetishization of its gothic past lingering in the present, of which I am guilty of exploiting.  I am drawn to the place, since first reading Faulkner, O’Connor, Welty, Percy, Larry Brown, in that order.  The loving in-spite-of not because-of; the past reaching into the future, silently undulating in co-centric circles to your present; the unacknowledged shadow looming over everything – all resonate with me, and I suspect with many who pursue the Southern route – we cultural carpet-baggers seeking redemption.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this project, but I don’t feel under the same constraints I did when I was younger to have it all tied-up neatly at this stage. My projects ferment for a long time. And while I am sure this is partially due to procrastination, it is also due to my need for reflection.  Also I like to work on a lot of projects at once.  And I’m sure part of it is that it is extremely painful for me to finish these things – to say goodbye.

A prime example of this, is my project Cholita.  An image from which was also honored in AP31 (it was first published last year in EnFoco’s Nueva Luz):

Familia, Huanchaco, Peru, 2011
Familia, Huanchaco, Peru © Susana Raab 2015

I am probably done shooting it, but to sit down with the work and properly examine and mediate it, sort the text etc, feels like more than I can possibly bear.  So I am holding myself accountable here, that I am using this month of my birthday to sit with the work and frame my narrative, to close that door and every possibility it contained. It is time.