Butler and Taylor County, Georgia

In 1994, I was working for the state of Georgia when it was affected by a devastating flood in the southwest parts of the state. During the recovery from this disaster I was travelling the affected areas with a camera and met Reada Fairley (pictured on this page with Chuck). She asked me: “Why aren’t you taking my picture?” We began talking and she told me about the people of Butler and Taylor County and said that I “had to photograph them”.

After 15 months of studying black and white photography and purchasing a Graflex XL medium format camera, I went back to the area for the first of many times and she introduced me to the people on this page. They were, mostly, receptive to the camera (one that is NOT portrait friendly) and it led to many relationships. I even made audio recordings of Poppa Dad, J.W. Miller and Velma where they talked about their lives.

During my time in Taylor County I learned how they still had problems with racism and segregation. For one, they were forbidden by the U.S. government from holding local elections for several years, because the white population set up the elections in such a way that it was impossible for black candidates to win, even in predominately black areas of the county.

It is also interesting to note that up until 2002 they still had segregated senior proms (formal dances). One for white students and one for the black students (I was the photographer for Reada’s daughter’s prom in, I believe, 1998). After the first integrated prom, the white students still often preferred to hold private, whites-only parties at the end of the year, although the prom was officially integrated.

Photos are limited to an edition of ten (10) and available for purchase. See contact page for details.