Artist's Statement

Tema Stauffer

30x36in archival pigment prints

My various bodies of photographic work examine the social, economic and cultural landscape of American spaces. I am currently developing a new series of photographs, “Southern Fiction,” exploring the history of the American South using its literary tradition as a road map, focusing on environments which have shaped the imaginations of iconic 20th-century Southern writers during their formative years or throughout the course of their lives and careers. The images portray domestic settings, vernacular architecture, and rural landscapes that visually resonate with the history, culture, and atmosphere of the South. In 2018, I began shooting large-format color photographs of settings in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi associated with writers Flannery O’Connor, William Faulkner, Carson McCullers, Truman Capote, Harper Lee, Alice Walker, and Richard Wright. My goal is to expand this series by continuing to photograph the former homes of these and other writers and the surrounding landscapes that inspired their work. The successful competition of “Southern Fiction” will contribute to a dialogue about a region of the United States whose history is deeply rich and profoundly complicated. By examining the roots of its greatest writers, I seek to investigate this richness and complexity through the evocative settings that defined their experiences and voices.