In the early 20th century, posing for a photographic portrait was an event. It was an opportunity for people to make meaningful statements about themselves, their families and their communities. For those living in rural Fayette County, Alabama, this service was provided by the family of Mitch and Geneva Shackelford, a family of multi-talented African-American community leaders and commercial photographers whose photographs are currently on display at the Columbus Public Library in the exhibition “Both Sides of the Lens: Photographs by the Shackelford Family, Fayette County, Alabama (1900-1935). ”
On Tuesday, Feb. 11 at noon, “Both Sides of the Lens” curators Andrew Nelson and Annie Shackelford, whose great-grandparents and grandfather were among the photographers responsible for these images, will give a gallery talk about the Shackelfords’ photography on the first floor of the library at 314 Seventh St. N. In this informal and interactive presentation, Nelson and Shackelford will provide an in-depth look at the Shackelfords’ photographic process and describe the powerful impact the family’s photography had on their local community. Along the way, Nelson and Shackelford will also describe the historical significance of these images and speak to the valuable and often overlooked role that photography plays in historical research.
The more than 40 photographs were reproduced from the collection of early 20th century glass plate negatives held at the Birmingham Public Library.
“Both Sides of the Lens” will be on display through the end of February.
The gallery talk, as well as the exhibit, are free and open to the public.
For more information, contact Mona Vance-Ali at 662-329-5304.
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