The celebration of a life's work in fine art photography
Oraien Catledge was born in Sumner, Mississippi, in 1928, and came to his photographer's vocation near the end of a long career as a social worker in the state of Mississippi, and as an advocate for the blind throughout the South.
Although principally a photographer of people, Catledge's sensuous, fastidious black and white work documents the landscapes and cityscapes of Mississippi and New Orleans, as well as imagining and recording the insular, working-class lives of the Cabbagetown neighborhood in center-city Atlanta -- the signal achievement upon which his considerable reputation rests.
As novelist Richard Ford states in his introduction, Catledge's remarkable photographs insist on the world as a movingly shared place. They seize their subjects with a palpable and seemingly inexhaustible relish, "as if the photographer has found each subject's…face, expression, physical attitude and posture [so] full of dense complexity…. " that the choice to make the photograph became an intoxicating one.
Catledge's photographs do more than simply arrest us. By their great affirming particularity, by their ambition , their perceptiveness, by their searching and patient eye and by what Ford calls their subjects' "radiant sense of chosen-nes," they cause us to concur in a spirit of munificence, which transcends their southern subjects and settings and achieves an indisputable connection with the great photography of the last century.