When I was a child in Valdosta, I’d wait up for my parents to come home from an evening out so I could ride with my father to take the babysitter home. One sitter lived on Holiday Street, named for the family of Doc Holliday who was my cousin. His mother and my great-great-grandmother were sisters. The name “Holiday Street” was fanciful to my child’s mind. Tuberculosis and trouble sent Doc Holliday from our muggy town to Tombstone, Arizona, where he played poker and cheated at Faro and fought alongside the Earps at the shootout at the OK Corral. This seemed to me to imbue Holiday Street with magic, but the street had magic of its own. Those nights, I peered from the car window at the houses we passed, and I saw grownups and youngsters together on porches. I looked through open doors and windows, some rooms wallpapered with newsprint that had turned amber, the houses glowing like mica lanterns.—Lindsay Brice


Florence Stafford in front of her house on Holiday Street, Valdosta, Georgia, date unknown

On a hot afternoon in 1998, I was home from Los Angeles. I drove to that neighborhood looking for Holiday Street. You wouldn’t happen upon it if you were taking a straight route anywhere. It’s only a few blocks long and it dead-ends to the north at the railroad tracks. It’s a quiet street of well-kept simple frame houses with unfenced yards and flowering shrubs. A shiny minivan was parked in front of a grandparent’s house that Sunday afternoon. The houses were closed tight and no one sat on porches, but it wasn’t that way in the 60s before these houses were air-conditioned.

One house in the neat neighborhood stood out. Its shrubbery had grown out of control and obscured the front porch. A sign was nailed to the front door:




A court hearing will be held to

consider nuisance abatement for

the demolition of this property.

Said court hearing will be held

at Lowndes Law Enforcement

Complex at 2:00 p.m. on the

15th day of May, 1998


That date had passed. I got out of the car and took a picture of the house from the curb. I stepped closer to photograph the sign on the door.

From the porch, through the open front window, I saw the house was full of detritus. Ransacked papers, clothing, liquor bottles, suitcases, what-have-you, was strewn throughout. I climbed through that window, camera in hand. I stepped carefully into the front parlor, finding my balance on trash that was baked by heat and encrusted in dirt in drifts at least a foot deep. A crocheted scarf still lay draped over the mantle, and a jacket and tie hung at the door.

I sensed a certain grace about the house, a gentle order and refinement that remained despite its current state. The soft gray-blue tongue-and-groove slat walls had been meticulously decorated with personal mementos.

Pretty shoes and handbags were tossed about, and spider webs clung to rotting dresses and a fur-collared coat that hung on the wall of a lady’s bedroom. Her bed was broken, but pictures of Jesus and the Apostles remained propped on the bedroom mantle alongside Christmas cards and a blue sign of The Ten Commandments hand-lettered in silver glitter. Next to the head of the bed, the funeral home calendar page for January 1965 had not been torn to February.

I made my way, dirty and hot and bitten by fleas, searching for and photographing the remnants of the life of a lady. She seemed to have been forgotten, and her home was to be unceremoniously discarded by the city.

That was just after my grandmother’s death, and my mother and I had been tending to the few remaining details settling her affairs. I wondered why this lady’s careful housekeeping had been abandoned. I wondered who she was and what had happened.

As I stepped back toward the front window to leave, I saw letters on the floor. I picked them up, and that night I sat on my mother’s back steps – not allowed to bring anything from “that house” indoors – and I read them all.

In her house and in these letters I found a spirit I felt I knew. At first I thought I’d stumbled upon Mrs. Stafford’s home, but now I believe I’d been looking for her. For thirty-three years her house lay as it fell in Valdosta, Georgia. I found it the summer of 1998 when I came home for my grandmother’s funeral. By Christmas, the house was a shell, its contents emptied by the city in preparation for its demolition, and now only a sandy patch remains on Holiday Street to mark where Mrs. Stafford lived.




Lindsay Brice’s photographs have been shown in solo exhibitions in Los Angeles, Santa Fe, and her hometown, Valdosta, Georgia, and group exhibitions throughout the country. First known for her photographs of dolls, Viggo Mortensen’s Perceval Press published a book of that series, SuperNatural, in 2005. Thierry Dufrêne included Brice’s doll work in his monograph on artists’ use of dolls in contemporary art, La Poupée sublimée (2015, Skira Paris).

Brice began to document her home region in Georgia in 1989. That series continues. One of her photographs from the Brice plantation founded in 1833 in Brooks County, Georgia, is currently on view in the Art of Georgia exhibition in the Executive Offices of the Governor in the Georgia State Capitol through April 2016.

From 2000-2003, her 1998 work from Florence Stafford House in Valdosta was included in Visualizing the Blues: Images of the American South 1862-2000, curated by Wendy McDaris, that began in Memphis at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens and traveled to nine museums, including the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans and Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah. That exhibition featured works by such masters as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, Edward Weston, Dorothea Lange, and Eudora Welty, as well as contemporary photographers Gordon Parks, William Eggleston, Sally Mann, Maude Schuyler Clay, and Mark Steinmetz. (Catalogue)

In 2005, Brice covered the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. That work was featured on CNN by Anderson Cooper, and in Douglas Brinkley’s The Great Deluge, (Harper Collins, 2006), a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

Brice’s coverage of the Los Angeles Uprising of 1992 was published in Raygun and exhibited at Angel’s Gate Cultural Center in RESHAPING L.A.: THE SEARCH FOR INCLUSION/IN PRAISE OF DIVERSITY. A photograph from the Uprising was featured on the cover of Christa Wolf’s City of Angels (2010, Farrar, Strauss & Giroux). In the summer of 1992, she documented the protests surrounding the Republican National Convention in Houston. Brice’s involvement with community and political issues has led her to work as a photographer for the A.C.L.U. and for the Fund for the Feminist Majority’s Rock for Choice. Her photographs were included in a photographic project for nationwide advertising for the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund.

Brice’s editorial photographs and reportage have appeared in many publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, W, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, and Entertainment Weekly, as well as books including Nirvana: the day to day illustrated journals (2003, Barnes & Noble Inc.), Mudhoney: The Sound and the Fury from Seattle (2014, Voyageur), The Cramps (2015, Omnibus Press, London), and Know Your Enemy: The Story of Rage Against the Machine (2014 Omnibus Press, London).