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Flannery O'Connor's Georgia

Barbara McKenzie

Succinct text from photographer Barbara McKenzie and a foreword by Robert Coles provide context for this moving collection of photographs of the middle Georgia Flannery O’Connor depicted in her fiction. Whether capturing highway signs proclaiming Christ or a restaurant five hundred yards up the road, the frenzied motions of persons seized by the Holy Spirit, or quiet folks, black and white, sitting on benches in town squares, these photographs portray strikingly and sympathetically the world O’Connor wrote about in her remarkable stories.

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Focus on Playwrights

Portraits and Interviews

Susan Johann

In 1989 Susan Johann was hired to photograph Christopher Durang for a magazine article about his play Naomi in Her Living Room. The playwright was known for his outrageous comedy, so Johann anticipated a session with a rather wild, young eccentric. To her surprise, the man who came to her studio was mild mannered and buttoned down. Johann found this twist captivating, and it was then that this project was born. Over the ensuing twenty-year period, she photographed more than ninety playwrights, including many winners of the Pulitzer Prize and other prestigious awards. Johann photographed Wendy Wasserstein, Anna Deavere Smith, August Wilson, and Nilo Cruz in the weeks after they won the Pulitzer. Tony Kushner sat for his portrait between the productions of part 1 and part 2 of Angels in America. Eve Ensler came to Johann’s studio during the week she was previewing her famous one-woman show, The Vagina Monologues, and George C. Wolfe sat for her the morning after his play Spunk opened at the Public Theater. Each playwright was photographed in Johann’s studio using the same film, a single light, and a plain backdrop, creating a portrait that captures and distills something essential—an intimate view. Her interviews explore the writers’ personal and creative journeys including their inspirations, roadblocks, and obsessions, which influenced their work on paper and on the stage. Even those who know Edward Albee’s plays intimately, for example, may be surprised by his incisive wit and inimitable voice as revealed in his interview with Johann. Beyond the book, Focus on Playwrights is also a live, multimedia presentation in which Johann narrates an inside look at creativity—the theater and photography. It has been given at such venues as the New Dramatists in New York, the Eugene O’Neill Theater, the Tryon Fine Arts Center and at the Photo Expo in New York.

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Fog at Hillingdon

David K Langford

While fog does not come easily or frequently to Central Texas, when it does, it inspires moments of quiet and reflection. David Langford captures those moments here in stirring images of the comings and goings of fog on Hillingdon Ranch, family land that has benefited from the stewardship of six generations. These photographs in turn inspired an essay by writer Rick Bass that takes him back to his own memories of fog—in the Texas Hill Country and elsewhere.
Fog at Hillingdon includes a personal note by Langford on his techniques and camera equipment. Apt historic or contemporary quotations selected by Myrna Langford accompany many of the photographs and reflect the moods and sentiments fog often evokes.

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From War to Peace in 1945 Germany

A GI's Experience

Afterword by Bradley D. Cook. Foreword by James H. Madison. Malcolm L. Fleming

As an Official Army Photographer, "Mac" Fleming’s assignment was to take motion pictures of significant wartime events for the US Army. In the pouch intended to carry his first-aid kit on his belt, he instead carried a small personal camera, which he used to take pictures of the people and places that interested him, capturing in his field notes details of the life he observed. From these records, Fleming has assembled this absorbing private chronicle of war and peace. Assigned to the European Theater in February 1945, he filmed the action from the battle for the Remagen Bridge across the Rhine, to the fighting in the Hartz Mountains, on to the linkup with the Russian forces at the Elbe River. After the armistice, Fleming helped document how the Allied Expeditionary Force established a military government in Germany to cope with masses of POWs, establish control of the country, deal with the atrocities committed by the German army, and help thousands of newly released slave laborers return home to Poland, France, and Russia. He also recorded how the army provided rest, recreation, and rehabilitation to the remaining US soldiers and sent them home by truck, train, and ship. Awaiting shipment home, Fleming explored postwar German town and country life and toured some famous castles and historic spots. The foreword by historian James H. Madison describes the important role of photography in war and the special contribution of Fleming’s photographic diary.

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Fruit of the Orchard

Environmental Justice in East Texas

Photographs by Tammy Cromer-Campbell. Essays by Phyllis Glazer, Roy Flukinger, Eugene Hargrove, and Marvin Legator

In 1982, a toxic waste facility opened in the Piney Woods in Winona, Texas. The residents were told that the company would plant fruit trees on the land left over from its ostensible salt-water injection well. Soon after the plant opened, however, residents started noticing huge orange clouds rising from the facility and an increase in rates of cancer and birth defects in both humans and animals. The company dismissed their concerns, and confusion about what chemicals it accepted made investigations difficult. Outraged by what she saw, Phyllis Glazer founded Mothers Organized to Stop Environmental Sins (MOSES) and worked tirelessly to publicize the problems in Winona. The story was featured in People , the Houston Chronicle magazine, and The Dallas Observer . The plant finally closed in 1998, citing the negative publicity generated by the group. This book originated in 1994 when Cromer-Campbell was asked by Phyllis Glazer to produce a photograph for a poster about the campaign. She was so touched by the people in the town that she set out to document their stories. Using a plastic Holga camera, she created hauntingly distorted images that are both works of art and testaments to the damage inflicted on the people of a small Texas town by one company’s greed. In the accompanying essays, Phyllis Glazer describes the history of Winona and the fight against the facility; Roy Flukinger discusses Cromer-Campbell's striking photographic technique; Eugene Hargrove explores issues of environmental justice; and Marvin Legator elaborates on how industry and government discourage victims of chemical exposure from seeking or obtaining relief.

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Generations in Black and White

Photographs from the James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection

Carl Van Vechten

This portfolio of eighty-three photographs constitutes a stunning celebration of African American achievement in the twentieth century. Carl Van Vechten, a longtime patron of black writers and artists, took these photographs over the course of three decades—primarily as gifts to his subjects, such luminaries as W. E. B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Joe Louis, James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Ruby Dee, Lena Horne, and James Earl Jones.

The photographs Rudolph P. Byrd has selected for this volume come from the James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection of Negro Arts and Letters, which Van Vechten established at Yale University. Byrd has arranged the images chronologically, according to the time at which each subject emerged as a vital presence in African American tradition.

Complementing the photographs are a substantial introduction by Byrd, biographical sketches of each subject, and poems by the noted writer Michael S. Harper. The result is a volume of beauty and power, a record of black excellence that will engage and inform new generations.

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Glorious Gulf of Mexico

Life Below the Blue

Jesse Cancelmo

Stunned by widespread ignorance about the Gulf of Mexico following the 2010 Macondo oil spill, underwater photographer Jesse Cancelmo decided to turn his camera on the marine life of this 600,000 square mile international sea that connects five US states, six Mexican states, and the island nation of Cuba. With the goal of countering dismissive descriptions of a Gulf plagued with dead zones and overrun by oil rigs, Cancelmo set out to capture a world rarely acknowledged, let alone seen.

Between the Gulf's rich shoreline habitats and its prolific oceanic communities, thriving amid dazzling coral reefs, brine seeps, canyons, salt domes, and hard bottom banks, are more than 15,000 species, including an iconic cast of sea animals: sperm whales, manta rays, whale sharks, manatees, spotted dolphins, and more.

Capturing images from locations all around the Gulf, Cancelmo reveals the beauty and glory of these diverse habitats and species.

Although this is a book of sensational underwater photography, Cancelmo intends it to be more than a celebration of oceanic beauty. He also hopes to inspire better understanding and appreciation of the natural marine habitats in the Gulf and to strengthen support for their protection and sustainment.

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The Ground on Which I Stand

Tamina, a Freedmen's Town

Marti Corn

In 1871, newly freed slaves established the community of Tamina—then called “Tammany”—north of Houston, near the rich timber lands of Montgomery County. Located in proximity to the just-completed railroad from Conroe to Houston, the community benefited from the burgeoning local lumber industry and available transportation. The residents built homes, churches, a one-room school, and a general store.

Over time, urban growth and change has overtaken Tamina. The sprawling communities of The Woodlands, Shenandoah, Chateau Woods, and Oak Ridge have encroached, introducing both opportunity and complication, as the residents of this rural community enjoy both the benefits and the challenges of urban life. On the one hand, the children of Tamina have the opportunity to attend some of the best public schools in the nation; on the other hand, residents whose education and job skills have not kept pace with modern society are struggling for survival.

Through striking and intimate photography and sensitively gleaned oral histories, Marti Corn has chronicled the lives, dreams, and spirit of the people of Tamina. The result is a multi-faceted portrait of community, kinship, values, and shared history.

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Hanging by a Thread

A Kite’s View of Wisconsin

This full-color book of photographs records Wisconsin from an unusual viewpoint: a camera suspended from a kite and controlled by photographer Craig M. Wilson from the ground. Taken from fifty to a few hundred feet in the air, Wilson’s photos capture natural and man-made views that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. The result is a vibrant collection that captures Wisconsin in all its shifting beauty in landscapes and cityscapes, festivals, Door County’s lighthouses, Milwaukee’s neighborhoods, and the crowd at a Badger football game. Captions are provided in English, Spanish, German, and Mandarin Chinese.

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Hillingdon Ranch

Four Seasons, Six Generations

David K Langford

In 1885, San Antonio architect Alfred Giles began buying the land that would become Hillingdon Ranch, eventually accumulating 13,000 acres near the town of Comfort in Kendall County. As the property passed to succeeding generations, the holdings got smaller, and more family members shared a stake in the ranch. Today, dozens of Giles descendants own pieces of it, ranging in size from ten to several hundred acres.

Yet Hillingdon remains a working ranch, with day-to-day operations managed by Robin Giles, grandson of Alfred Giles; his wife, Carol; their son, Grant; and Grant’s wife, Misty. The cattle, sheep, and goat business they built has become a model of stewardship and sustainability. While managing family relationships can often be as complicated as managing livestock and forage, the ranch would not exist without the commitment of the large extended family, now in its sixth generation on the ranch.

Hillingdon Ranch: Four Seasons, Six Generations chronicles how one family has worked together over many years to keep their ranch intact. It is also a beautifully photographed portrait of a ranching family and their life in the Texas Hill Country, where work is guided by the seasons, increasingly influenced by technology, and inevitably affected by drought.

In learning about the family’s successes and challenges, readers will gain a greater appreciation of what the Giles family’s efforts mean to the rest of us: food, fiber, clean air, wildlife, healthy land, peace and quiet, and, perhaps most important of all, clean and plentiful water.

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