On display September 16-November 26, 2017
William Ferris, a University of North Carolina history professor and former chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, has chronicled famous and everyday Southerners during a rich career as a folklorist. But for his first exhibition of color photography, he eschewed images of the celebrated whom he had documented, such as B.B. King or Eudora Welty, in favor of prison inmates, quilt makers, and roadside vendors, all going about their daily lives. “Each person has a deep connection to the place in which she or he lives,” the photographer has written, “and they share intimate ties to family and friends in those places.” Ferris’ photographs in The South in Color, much like his highly praised 2016 book of the same name, include his earliest images, from the family farm where he grew up outside Vicksburg, Mississippi. That’s appropriate, as the photographer treats the friends, family and relative strangers before his lens with honesty and compassion, as if they are all members of his extended family.