I started working on “A Southern Diary” six years ago when I realized that all of the photographs that I wanted to make were in the South – Southern landscapes, structures, people – the atmosphere that only exists in the small town and rural South.
In the beginning, I had specific locations and kinds of locations in mind and I was quite deliberate in finding the images that I had imagined. Along the way, the notebook I kept of names and locations evolved into a diary. And after the first few years, I embraced the lesson I had learned from many travels – that the best part of the journey is on the way. It’s good to get a bit lost, and the photograph I am looking for is one I don’t yet know about, and most likely down the wrong turn, behind the building, or in the face of the person I’ve met by chance
The South is an evocative place for me, both because it is a fundamental part of my own past and because it is a place where the layers of history and culture are still a visible presence. Nature is close and enveloping, and my encounters with both people and place are often wonderfully unexpected.
Most of the photographs for all of “A Southern Diary” are included in an accompanying book. The photographs in the series were made in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.
Donna Wesley Spencer has a Master’s degree in English and taught high school English for many years. She also studied Art History and has had a life-long interest in art that led to a serious interest in photography. She started working on “A Southern Diary” six years ago when she realized that all of the photographs that she wanted to make were in the South – Southern landscapes, structures, people – the atmosphere that only exists in the small town and rural South.
She is a founding member and President of Perspective Gallery in Evanston, IL and divides her time between Evanston and a small town in North Carolina.