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Ryan Steed: “Went Out for Cigarettes”

A Novel Experience Bookstore

Zebulon, GA

During SlowExposures and through the month of October

Artists’ Brunch Reception: 9 – 11 am, Saturday, September 16

Artist's Statement
Went out for Cigarettes

A Photographic Series

“I can understand why Southerners are haunted by their own landscape and in love with it.” — Walker Evans

The series’ title may be the old cliché of someone walking out the door one day on a random notion and never returning, but it also poses the question of what one might find on such a journey. I went in search of the South I know — not only as a region but also as a concept. “Went out for Cigarettes” encompasses four states, but regardless of the geography, these images share a familiar physical and psychological landscape.

Southerners are constantly witnessing things dying away. Right before something breathes its last, be it landscape, structure, or conviction, we try to revive it, forever trying to grab hold of a fleeting moment.

This region takes pride in its definition unlike any other place in the country. Southerners are curators without white gloves. The region is eternally trying to save face. The South doesn’t go out to fetch the mail without putting on makeup. We repress certain elements of our past: our politics, our religion, our sexuality. While at the same time, we praise all these things. This region is a didactic contradiction.

 

 

Biographical Information:

Ryan Steed © Katie Benjamin Steed

Ryan Steed is a photographer and educator based in Memphis, Tennessee. After completing an MFA in Photography, he has been traveling the American South to further develop his thesis work, “Went Out for Cigarettes”.

He currently teaches darkroom and social documentary photography at Memphis College of Art and has recently exhibited work through Arkansas Arts Center, Drawl Gallery, Amos Eno, Crosstown Arts, Black Box Gallery, and Memphis College of Art. His work has been published by Amnesty International and #Photography. Ryan’s interests range from analog photographic processes to digital media, and his first love is black and white documentary photography. He believes the greatest photos are made from the side of the road.