Studio Photo LESS
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo c. 1970.
© Lema Mpeve Mervil
Read more about this project here.
Earlier this year I began visiting the Cherokee Reservation in the western hills of North Carolina. I’m drawn to intersections of cultural politics, geography and historical events that have marginalized communities and individuals. This interest has led me to the townships of South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, and now western North Carolina. I don’t know what Cherokee will reveal to me about itself, or about myself. The history of the Cherokee people and the lands on which they live is deep and complicated and still unfolding, as is the history of the ways they have been represented.
Terrain (Lines). Cherokee, NC.
© Stamen Design, under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 3.0) license.
(Earlier posts on this topic can be seen here.)
When I read about Obama’s promising initiative called “Powering Africa” in the New York Times yesterday, I thought about the nights I spent in Inkisi, Democratic Republic of Congo, watching my hosts cook dinner with the light of an LED lamp. Similar to the Headlamp Series, the images below capture glimpses of typically public scenes that seem to become intimate and private in the dark. I can only imagine how this courtyard will be transformed when the electricity works through the night.
A recent NYTimes Lens Blog featured the photographic work of Gordon Parks and an essay by Maurice Berger about Joanne Wilson, a truly remarkable woman whose strength in the face of oppression has been, until now, largely unheralded. The post reminded me of the picture below, which I discovered while visiting Elena Glinn. The image captures Gordon Parks, Burt Glinn and Elena–three exceptional and influential individuals in their own right.
Gordon Parks, Burt Glinn and Elena Glinn at the opening of Southern Roads/City Pavements: Photographs of Black Americans by Roland L. Freeman at the International Center of Photography. New York, 1981. Photograph by John Abrams.