Julia Cart is a Southern photographer/visual preservationist who works exclusively in black-and-white using large format film cameras. Her images cover a wide range, including landscapes, architecture, botanicals and portraiture, with a special concern for historic and environmental preservation. She prints her works in limited editions using both contemporary and antique printing processes.
Drawing from her experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, West Africa, her southern roots in Charleston, South Carolina, and later studies in theater and photography, she began her documentation of the natural and cultural heritage of South Carolina’s coastal Lowcountry.
For the past twenty years, and with the help of the South Carolina Arts Commission, Cart set out to visually preserve the landscape, architecture and Gullah culture of the Sea Islands in a race against time. Using her large format camera as a “seeing clock,” she collected a series of photographic images that tell a story of a culture and a way of life that is vanishing. The Sea Island series has, in fact, become an elegy. Many of the people, landscapes and architecture that she photographed no longer exist.
Julia Cart studied at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Goddard College in Vermont, L’Ecole Jacques LeCoq in Paris, and graduated from the College of Charleston with a BA in fine arts. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, West Africa. Cart is a self-taught photographer who works exclusively in large format black-and-white. She studied under Fred Picker and learned his interpretation of the Zone System developed by his former mentor, Ansel Adams. She prints her own images using contemporary as well as antique (platinum/palladium) printing processes.
Cart’s work is in private and corporate collections in the States and abroad, the American Embassy in Sierra Leone, and in the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston. Arcadia Press published her photographs in And I’m Glad: An Oral History of Edisto Island, a book which documents the Sea Island Gullah culture.