Inspirations/My Beginnings Are in the South (with the Photography of Jack Leigh)
I grew up in rural South Carolina. When I was 17, I moved to Atlanta for college. When I was 19, I spent a year living in Europe. At 21, I left the US for Southern Africa, where I lived for a little more than two years. When I returned to the US I spent some time back in the South, then headed west to San Francisco. A year later I moved to Chicago, and now here I am.
Regardless of the movements of my life- the transitions, the relocations, the straining at limits and at being “settled”- I’ve never stopped thinking of South Carolina as my place of origin, as the soil in which my roots are lodged. I was conceived (both biologically and subjectively) amid the scenes and habits of the South. The accent, the gentility, the energy, the swampy and fertile landscape…these are all part of that complicated region and, in turn, part of the architecture of my personality.
Like my personality, my style and my sense of how clothes should be worn also origniate, at least in part, in the complexity that is “the South.” Combined with this slower, ostensibly simpler sensibility is an aesthetic that emerged from and was crafted by years in urban settings in the US, Europe, and Africa and by exposure to further examples of pastoral life (particularly in Namibia). No matter where I live, I’ll always have a fondness for sundresses and sandals and (dare I say it) seersucker. But that fondness is tempered with the allure of zippers and leather motorcycle boots and funky blazers.
Thus, like so many people of my age and recent acquaintance, I’m a sort of hybrid. My beginnings are in the South; my future is in the citied existence of places elsewhere. And in honor of those beginnings: the art of Jack Leigh, who has photographed my home state (and those near it) with deep perception and a misleading sense of quiet.