TERRI GARLAND, SHORTLISTED 3RD BIENNIAL’S GRANT
Delta Creation Theories/Delta Devolution Theories
Most regions have either embraced or been assigned their own distinct mythologies. Comprised
of historical fact, folklore, and assumptions that are frequently romanticized, these elements
combine to shape and color our perceptions of a particular area. The South bares its
contradictions perhaps better than most regions. For many years, I have been drawn to
investigate and pursue with curiosity the social landscape of the southern states with an emphasis
on photographing the signs and symbols of ethnocentricity as manifested in white supremacist
ideology. While many of these pictures were solidly situated within the documentary tradition,
my greater interest lay in revealing the fragile, often invisible, thread of humanity that connects
us all, despite the fear of difference.
In early 2010, I began to assemble triptychs from photographs made in the Mississippi Delta
during 2007 – 2009. With a genesis born from various writing projects, I have been drawn to
make narrative sequences that embrace my interests in the dualities of life and death, desire and
constraint, and the secular and the sacred. I include the look of place, the color of skin and the
nagging issues of cultural separation that sometimes scream and sometimes relax and dissolve.
The pictures were always made as singular images; my decision to combine some into triptychs
occurred later, back at home where I would work to visually recreate a particular memory of my
experience. Some of the groupings, especially those comprised of three horizontals, remind me
of the vast flatness of the Delta that one see through the windshield of one’s car while driving –
less like panoramas (although they are long) – but more so a combination of things seen and
contemplated, the droning sound of the inescapable heat and the fears and delights that can be
encountered on lonely country roads.