Twenty years ago, near to the day, mom and I drove down to the state capitol in Montgomery where I was awarded an Alabama State Council on the Arts scholarship. A few of my photographs were exhibited (one of my very first art shows), there was a luncheon, and a lot of fanfare. It was a great – and formative – day. With that ASCA scholarship I pursued a degree in art that helped make my dreams of becoming a documentary photographer come true, and four short years later I began a career that has since taken me from war zones to National Geographic, and from the Oval Office back home to Alabama.
Today has been another great day, with news that I have been awarded an Alabama State Council on the Arts Fellowship Grant. I’m profoundly encouraged by ASCA's significant support – particularly as I near completion of a body of work on methamphetamine use on Sand Mountain – and I am especially grateful for the platform from which I may more broadly challenge the existing stereotypes attendant with poverty and addiction in my home state.
An exhibition of the Sand Mountain work will be scheduled for Montgomery next year; award citations and the full cohort of 2017-18 fellows can be seen here: http://arts.alabama.gov/news_detail.aspx?ID=12300