South x Southeast is proud to present two bodies of work by Rusty Miller, a selection of untitled work and a selection titled On The Bus. This work has never been exhibited or published publicly before now.
Rusty Miller (1933-1992)
Rusty Miller’s life would make a great Hollywood movie. Born into one of Atlanta’s Buckhead families, he never really felt comfortable with what was considered the acceptable way to make a living. “Crazy” and “kind” are the words used by his friends and family to describe him. His love of photography began at a very young age and, although he tried to follow his father’s footsteps into the printing business, he found his passion in taking photographs. In the 1960s Miller opened his commercial photography business in Atlanta, finding success and receiving advertising awards for his work. On the weekends, though, is when Miller created his best work and what kept Miller in the darkroom for hours printing from the negatives. What Rusty Miller captured was the life of the people in the Summerhill area during the 1960s when the Civil Rights movement was changing Atlanta’s world. There is in these images a real connection to people, their spirit and their heart, rarely seen in photography today. Children laughing as they squish into a makeshift go-cart made from a fruit crate or as they run and roll old tires in a race down a hill. Whether sitting on a porch or hanging near the local grocery store, men and women are making small talk on a hot summer day and watching people go by. The local bus was another setting for Miller to quietly study the moods of the passengers; some lost in thought and distant from Miller, others aware of his camera. In his carefully crafted prints of full rich-toned blacks and brilliant highlights, Rusty Miller tells us of the human experience as well as his own passionate sense of commitment. The personal work by Rusty Miller has never been publicly exhibited or published before now.