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Can you go home again?

February 6th, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

In conjunction with the Ackland Museum’s Picturing the World: Carolina’s Celebrated Photojournalists exhibit, one of the featured photographers, Janet Jarman, gave a talk covering her series of photographs “Crossing: Tale of the Rich North,” for which she followed the life of a single family for more than a decade. Janet was one of classmates and peers at UNC, so I wanted to listen to her speak, and catch up afterwards.

Despite living in Durham, I don’t seem to get back to UNC as often as I could (or should). Suzanne, on the other hand, spends too much time there, and it’s not the place she wants to be when she doesn’t need to be. Tonight she made an exception, and so i picked her up from the Health Sciences campus, and headed up north to the Journalism School. With the UNC (#3) vs. Duke (#2) game set to start in a few hours, the town and campus was full of Carolina blue clad fans milling about in the light drizzle, as well as some Dookies (try not to hate them), making a surreal homecoming of sorts.

Janet did some amazing work in following the story of Rodríguez family, as they traveled between two countries, and multiple states, over more than a decade. More than just locations, they moved back and forth between two worlds: The US and Mexico, differing greatly in culture, as much as affluence. The photos, and the story they convey are very moving—check ’em out.

Suzanne and I are planning to visit the Ackland for the exhibition in the next week. I knew a number of the photographers in the exhibit from UNC, so I am very interested to see what they have done.

Picturing the World: Carolina’s Celebrated Photojournalists is the first major exhibition of internationally recognized photojournalists who have studied at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, considered one of the most outstanding and innovative programs in the United States. This special exhibition will feature six award-winning photographers – Andrea Bruce, Jamie Francis, Janet Jarman, Charles “Stretch” Ledford, Susie Post Rust, and Ami Vitale – along with thirty images by another group of twenty-five distinguished photographers.

I was disappointed to learn that I had missed the opening, since a number of people I hadn’t seen in years were there. At the talk tonight, there were a few other “old timers” I got a chance to catch up with briefly, including “Stretch” Ledford, my first photography editor at UNC (who made me realize I knew much less about photography than I thought I did), and Ian Williams, a fellow DTH staff member. There were some humorous initial looks by a bunch of forty somethings who hadn’t seen each other in close to twenty years, but we all matched names and faces pretty quickly.

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