Photography reveals people of grit

Self portrait with a family on a porch, Cabbagetown, gelatin silver print, no date, Copyright © collection of the artist Oraien Catledge.

     (PNAN-MS) – They opened up to the ‘Picture Man’ who recorded these hardworking people living in Cabbagetown, a poor and downtrodden section in Atlanta. His black and white photographs reveal a vivid reality of the everyday hardships. The collection, “Cabbagetown:  Photographs by Oraien Catledge” is on view through January 16, 2011 at the Mississippi Museum of Art, serves not only as a historical reminder,  but also is a stellar documentation of the human living conditions, including the steadfast, resilient family-oriented people shown in 85 photographs from the museum and artist’s collections.

     Cabbagetown is a neighborhood established in 1881 to house Appalachian workers who labored in Jacob Elsas’ Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills.  After the firm’s closing in 1977, the residents stayed, many without consistent work or means of support, however during this period, the neighborhood was an area rich with personality and character, but without any visual/written documentation of its existence.

     In 1980, Catledge saw a television news feature about his old roots and began making weekly trips to photograph the neighborhood, capturing the people of the forgotten industrial community; recording the scenes that gave life to persons who were largely unnoticed. Although he lacked formal training with a camera and was hindered by a congenital visual impairment, his face-to-face approach earned the trust of his subjects and produced stark, intimate images.

Boy looking through broken window, Cabbagetown, gelatin silver print, no date by Oraien Catledge (American, born 1928)

    For more information about this exhibition and other programs offered by the Mississippi Museum of Art, visit the web at  or call 601-960-1515 or toll free 1-866-VIEW-ART (8439).

Published by on October 2010. Filed under Archives, Art-to-Art Marketplace Guide, At the Museums dept, PaletteBoards Section. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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