Photographers explore time and place in an exhibition at Gallery East

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East Gallery press release

A collaborative exhibition of photographs by Jared Ragland and Cary Norton, entitled “Where You Come From is Gone”, will be presented at USU Eastern Gallery East from March 7 to April 1 (closed from March 9 to 13 for spring break).

“Where You Come From is Gone” explores the significance of place, the passage of time, and the political dimensions of remembrance through historical wet plate collodion photography. The exhibit originally premiered during Alabama’s bicentennial celebration and continued through a commission from the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Springs, Florida. Ragland and Norton’s large-scale images seek to convey a history that has been largely suppressed and to make visible the erasure that occurred in the American South between Hernando’s first exploitation of Indigenous peoples de Soto in the 16th century and Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act 300 years later.

Using a 100-year-old field camera and a custom portable darkroom fitted to Ragland’s 4×4 truck, the two photographers traveled more than 3,000 miles through 30 Alabama counties and Florida to locate, visit and photograph native settlements. Yet the melancholic landscapes contain no obvious remnants of the indigenous cultures that once inhabited the sites; what was hoped to be documented, preserved and remembered has already disappeared. Instead, Ragland and Norton deliberately document absence and seek to render the often invisible layers of culture and civilization, creation and erasure, and the artificial and natural character of the landscape.

Victims of violence, wars and cultural displacements, the Eastern Woodland tribes were forced to vacate the sites photographed by Ragland and Norton. Conversely, these images seek to encourage viewers to responsibly reinhabit the space rather than continuing as uninformed and uninvolved residents.

Ragland is a fine art and documentary photographer and former White House photo editor. Her visual practice critically confronts questions of identity, marginalization, and history of place through social science, literary, and historical research methodologies. His work has been exhibited worldwide and his photographs have been featured in The New Yorker, New York Times, The Washington Post, Vanity Fair Italia, Forbes and The Oxford American, as well as in textbooks and academic journals.

Norton is a fine art and editorial photographer, camera builder and beekeeper. In 2009 he received worldwide recognition for building a 4″x5″ field camera from LEGO blocks, and he is currently working on building a custom large format 16″x20″ camera from locally sourced wood and iron. Norton has worked on long term assignments in London and Baghdad and has worked with NGOs in India, Kenya and Uganda. His work has been featured by Ford Motor Co., Regions Bank, Verizon and Whole Foods Market.

USU Eastern’s Gallery East is located in the Central Instruction Building and its exhibits are free and open to the public during the academic year from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and closed on weekends and holidays. The gallery observes COVID-19 precautions, including face coverings and a limit of 10 people in the gallery at a time.

Contact Noel Carmack by phone at (435) 613-5241 or by email at [email protected] with any questions regarding the exhibit.

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