Tag Archives: Georgia Photographers
The Owens family of Fitzgerald operated a photography studio here for as long as I can remember, though it was built a residence (in the American Foursquare style). Before locating here, they had studios on Pine Street and in the lobby of the old Lee-Grant Hotel. They were involved in the business for much of the 20th century. In the days before phone cameras and instant photography, having portraits made by Owens Studio was a rite of passage for many.
Paul Kwilecki is likely the best Georgia photographer you’ve never heard of. He’s a personal favorite of mine. After selling his family’s hardware business in Bainbridge he took up photography full-time, but as a self-taught photographer he was often isolated from the larger art world. That proved to be a good thing, as this beautiful new book, One Place: Paul Kwilecki and Four Decades of Photographs from Decatur County, Georgia will attest. For nearly forty years he photographed the people and places of Decatur County and did so with an eye not turned on Georgia in such a way since the FSA photographers of the Great Depression visited the state. Though he published one book in his lifetime (Understandings: Photographs of Decatur County, Georgia; UNC Press, Chapel Hill, 1981) and had hoped to see this one to print before his death, One Place will go far in establishing his place in the larger canon of American documentary work. I’m lucky to have briefly corresponded with Mr. Kwilecki before his death and he was a real gentleman, encouraging me to pursue my own passion for photography.
If you’re a fan of photography, you will want to purchase this book, or request it at your local library. Tom Rankin, who directs Duke University’s wonderful Center for Documentary Studies, edited the work and draws from his association with the photographer, as well as Kwilecki’s own descriptions of his work.
These are just a few of Bill Ricks’s images of life in and around Soperton, Georgia, over the past few decades. Mr. Ricks was an army veteran and a photographer who documented just about everything of note in his home county. And in the tradition of small town photographers, he enjoyed sharing his work. Many of his images were displayed in the windows of the old Moring’s Cash Store, but I’m told they are gone now. Luckily, the images are archived online. I believe Mr. Ricks passed away in 2011; I regret that I never got to meet him. I hope his images are kept in good shape for future generations. Perhaps his family will do a book of them at some time.