Eudora Welty's Photographic Reflections
The first book-length work to look critically at Eudora Welty’s work as a photographer
Internationally known as a writer, Eudora Welty has as well been spotlighted as a talented photographer. The prevalent idea remains that Welty simply took snapshots before she found her true calling as a renowned fiction writer. But who was Welty as a photographer? What did she see? How and why did she photograph? And what did Welty know about modern photography? In Exposing Mississippi: Eudora Welty's Photographic Reflections, Annette Trefzer elucidates Welty’s photographic vision and answers these questions by exploring her photographic archive and writings on photography.
The photographs Welty took in the 1930s and ’40s frame her visual response to the cultural landscapes of the segregated South during the Depression. The photobook One Time, One Place, which was selected, curated, and shaped into a visual narrative by Welty herself, serves as a starting point and guide for the chapters on her spatial hermeneutic. The book is divided into sections by locations and offers how the framing of these areas reveals Welty’s radical commentary of the spaces her camera captured. There are over eighty images in Exposing Mississippi, including some never-before-seen archival photographs, and sections of the book draw on over three hundred more. The chapters on institutional, leisure, and memorial landscapes address how Welty’s photographs contribute to, reflect on, and intervene in customary visual constructions of the Depression-era South.
"What did Eudora Welty see that moved her to choose this moment to capture? In Exposing Mississippi, Annette Trefzer answers this question and goes beyond—contextualizing the time, place, and culture for Welty’s exposures—to help readers of her book and viewers of Welty’s photographs to an enlarged understanding of Mississippi. "- Pearl Amelia McHaney, author of A Tyrannous Eye: Eudora Welty’s Nonfiction and Photographs
"Exposing Mississippi makes a very significant contribution to our understanding of a canonized Mississippi artist as well as to our understanding of Mississippi during the era in which these photographs were taken. Of the published work on Welty’s photography, no scholar has read all her photographs spatially. The quality of this analysis and historical contextualization is very high. This is unquestionably a valuable and important book. "- Julia Eichelberger, editor of Tell about Night Flowers: Eudora Welty’s Gardening Letters, 1940–1949