I have followed the work of Tamara Reynolds for some time now and enjoyed her look at the world she explores. With this series, Southern Route, I have noticed a sensitivity to the past and present of this often misunderstood part of our country.
While not ignoring what has gone before, she maintains an honest appraisal of a long transformation and looks at the future with the eye and heart of one who loves her native land.
Born in the South in 1960, I was undoubtedly affected by one of the momentous and impassioned periods of the country’s Southern history. There were deep chasms that divided black from white, rich from poor, neighbor from neighbor. We were a region riven with extremes and the bearers of a cultural isolation that sometimes pronounced itself with self-righteous pride and a willful rebelliousness.
The South carries the burden of having fought for and been completely defeated before relinquishing a way of life so rich but yet so ugly it nearly divided the country. On one hand, I have admiration for Southern resilience while it courageously fought against a tremendous social and financial transformation, paying an enormous price; on the other, I feel ashamed by its stubborn justification of a social system based on abuse and inequality.
The country has stereotyped the South as hillbilly, religious fanatic, and racist. Although there is evidence of it, I have also learned that there is a restrained dignity and a generous affection that Southerners possess intrinsically. We are a singular place, rich in culture, strong through adversity. We are a people that have persevered under the judgment of the rest of the world, carrying the sins of the country seemingly alone.
There is more to be revealed under the surface of things. Like kudzu, things may appear different from above than what lies beneath. While questioning my appreciation of the South, I found the beauty that is. And through compassion I have come to accept.
Tamara graduated with a BFA degree and has been enjoying a successful career in commercial photography for the past 25 years.
She has been recognized commercially, garnering several awards such as Communication Arts Award, International Photography Award, American Photography Award 29 and 30. Recently her pursuits for her personal project of the Southern vernacular, titled Southern Route, has been recognized by The Review Santa Fe 100, Photo Lucida 2012, 2013 Finalist List, featured on One One Thousand, Lenscratch, Southern Photography Blog, Bitter Southerner, Light Leaked and Oxford American-Eyes on the South. A selection of the series was included in Art Beat of Columbus March 2014 and will be included in Slow Exposure September 2014.
Tamara is represented by RepGirl since 1999. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.