This is Not Thornton Wilder

Sometimes photographs can be viewed as a component of language, each image contributing to a larger idea. Some would call this documentary but, as usual, there is a fluid quality that defies definition. With photographs we can reach across cultural gaps and speak a direct short hand, the difficult part is not to be too simplistic or to produce cliches. In Southern Memories, I wanted to be in the middle showing a world that was neither rich or poor. Small town America is seen as the place to be…there is that disconnect that says this is where only good things happen; you know your neighbor. I found photographs of a shrinking small town where the streets at night are overwhelmed by shadows and hopelessness in seeing another soul; light makes one feel vulnerable not safe and shadows add fear.
This is an Edward Hopper town when the last of the brave or unaware have made their way home to lock doors and hide. This is the town you want to drive through quickly. Using hi-contrast and German neo-expressionist lighting David Simonton has created images that reminded one of The Night of the Hunter and the stories my parents told. These are the small southern towns we hear about and dread.

John A Bennette

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