A glorious, shabby democracy – my interview with photographer Michael Mergen concludes (3 of 3)

Having talked with photographer Michael Mergen in previous segments about his Civil War landscapes and the parallel Civil Rights series, today we talk about the glorious shabbiness of American democracy.  This is something he explored in two works we talk about here – one a series in which he photographs buildings across the country that […]

Interchangeable heads and crayons in Selma – my interview with photographer Michael Mergen continues (part 2 of 3)

I’m so glad I obeyed my impulse at the stoplight in downtown Farmville, Virginia.  I was driving through and stopped at a red light next to the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts where a local photographer’s work was on display.  I pulled into a parking spot and discovered Michael Mergen. In the first part […]

When Robert E. Lee was in the Walgreen’s Parking Lot – An interview with Photographer Michael Mergen (part 1 of 3)

Michael Mergen is a photographer of memory and landscape.  His photos capture ordinary, even shabby parts of America and invest them with the meanings we place on them.  So a series on the things businesses give as freebies to veterans (burgers, ice cream) and another on the things we name for war heroes (interstate highway […]

“Pessimism, Hopelessness & Doom” – Traveling the Virginia Extremes with August Wallmeyer

  August Wallmeyer paints a distressing picture of rural Virginia in the 21st century.  His little book, The Extremes of Virginia, which highlights the realities and common challenges of three regions of the Commonwealth—Southwest, Southside, and the Eastern Shore—gets your attention quickly.  You start to see why he calls the regions “the Extremes,” and it isn’t just because […]

Attention was paid: The strange & sensual movement of Holy Week

Last night they didn’t try to package Jesus into a digestible savior.  In the Good Friday service I attended, the space was prepared.  Attention was paid.  The movements were purposeful.  Light and darkness played across the sanctuary.  There was little attempt at explanation and what there was was superfluous.  The story was told well.  Music […]