poetry, prose, and image by Brittney S Holland

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Who Knew?

I promise to continue my posts on Italy, but today I want to write about something else, a jewel of a discovery I made while browsing a vintage bookshop on Friday. Eudora Welty was a photographer. Yes, Eudora Welty. Who knew?

Don't know Eudora Welty? That's quite alright. She's an American author, highly anthologized for her stories set in the American South. You perhaps read her along the same time you read stories by Katherine Anne Porter and Flannery O'Connor. Don't recognizes those names? Perhaps that's because their stories too often pale in the literary lights of William Faulkner, Earnest Hemingway and John Steinbeck. Those were, indeed, "hard acts to follow"...especially for a Southern woman.

Such is life.

But it's Eudora's photographs I want to talk to you about today. They are truly captivating. Vintage...yes. A little rough at times...yes. I think these add to their character. And...perhaps my fascination with the recently discovered Vivian Maier and her soon-to-be-released book of images (November) predisposes me to such excitement, but I am truly enchanted. For those of you who are photography buffs, Eudora's images are not fine art photography; they are street images. Mostly, she captures people living in and around Mississippi, people who resonate with the images I conjure when I read her stories. And...perhaps it is this that captures me.

I , too, love watching people, filing them away in my mind for a future speaker in a poem. I also love the insights I gain about humanity while watching others (especially when they don't know I'm watching).

If only I possessed Eudora's courage. (Alas, I am shy.) Her images, unlike the street shots I posted from my trip to Rome, are intimate. Her subjects clearly know they are being photographed, and many times they look directly into the lens.

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