After the Parade

I first started going to Cuba in 2000. Over the years I logged just under a year of being there. Sometimes alone, other times with groups of photography students. I had one exhibition of my photos at a small gallery and it was successful in being well received by the Cubans who came to the opening. I was told by “Gonzo,” a Cuban photographer, that my images looked like they were made by a Cuban, not a tourist or photographer from the US. Here are some of them.

Learn More

Roberto and Maria

Roberto is one of my best friends-anywhere. He is a guide, translator, and Santeria priest. Maria, his wife, was a folkloric dance instructor. We always enjoyed the reviews of dance her classes presented. she died of Hepatitis C several years ago. Roberto was very depressed the last time I saw him. He still lives in this traditional log house. He has been saving for more than five years to replace the roof which leaks badly.

Learn More

Abandoned Bank

Abandoned Bank, Southern Randolph County

Learn More

All Saints Day

All Saints Day

Today is All Saint’s Day. It is also called All Hallows or Hallowmas. Celebrated on November 1, it is preceded by All Hallows Eve or Halloween and is followed on November 2 by All Souls Day otherwise known as the Day of the Dead, a day celebrated with great enthusiasm in most of Mexico. All Soul’s Day is a Roman Catholic day of remembrance for friends and loved ones who have passed away. The living pray on behalf of Christians who are in purgatory, the state in the afterlife where souls are purified before proceeding to heaven. It is a time to pray for their souls that they may be received into heaven.

I found an Episcopal service with suggested readings for All Saints Day and was intrigued by the selection of Ecclesiasticus 44: 1-10, 13-14 as the initial scripture. This begins, “Let us now praise famous men.” This is also the title of a book written by James Agee with a series of photographs supplied by Walker Evans. Agee and Evans went to Alabama in 1935 to write an article for Fortune magazine about poverty in the South during the Depression. The article never materialized, but Agee eventually published his book. It sold only 600 copies until it was re-issued and became a cult classic in the 1960s. The sharecroppers Fields and Burroughs along with their families were hardly famous. Evans photos are some of the most highly regarded documentary photos ever made and are a part of the book.

These are portraits of Floyd Burroughs and his wife Annie Mae made at their cabin in 1935 by Walker Evans.

floydallie maeEach year I teach about this and more and more I come to realize that Floyd Burroughs, his wife Annie Mae, the Tengles, and Bud Fields are the Famous Men (and Women) that Agee wanted to praise. These people and many like them are the unknown saints that we celebrate on All Saints Day. Walker Evans’ photographs catch the humanity and dignity of these humble sharecroppers because he took the time to know them before he photographed them. Once seen and literally lived with for a month or more, it is easy to see how James Agee could say of these simple hard-working people, “Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers who begat us.”

Learn More

Dan

This fellow was sitting outside with me waiting for the Blue Moon to open. We agreed that it was the best place in C’ville for breakfast.

Learn More