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© Bryan Tarnowski

It Would Be Easy

Artist: Bryan Tarnowski

Project: The Wishbone

Description: When Bryan Tarnowski set out to take the photographs of the Mississippi Delta catalogued in The Wishbone, he found the visual metaphors for poverty came too easily. They were embedded in a landscape “checkered with lush cotton fields and scarred with the remnants of decayed industry.” After riding the “City of New Orleans” train up to Memphis, he drove through a string of Mississippi towns for the better part of a week, trying to capture the apparent contradictions in places marked by poverty, yet buoyed by an “almost musical momentum.” His journey took him through the teal-blue hotel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, the wood-paneled bedroom of a Blues musician, a red-hot juke joint in Clarksdale, and a lunch counter in Jackson. Through his photographs, he aims to excavate the “fertile current of optimism” beneath the more obvious portrait of poverty in the Delta.

Eyes on the South is curated by Jeff Rich. The weekly series features selections of current work from Southern artists, or artists whose photography concerns the South. To submit your work to the series, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Bryan Tarnowski

Bryan Tarnowski is a documentary photographer based in New Orleans, Louisiana. He often works on projects and assignments that touch on place, race, and the American identity throughout the Deep South and Gulf Coast. He regularly contributes to the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Hemispheres magazine.