Dave Anderson has photographed in tough places—a surviving Ku Klux Klan bastion in Texas, New Orlean’s post-Katrina Ninth Ward—but his photographs are rarely gritty. His Aperture monograph One Block, which documents the rebuilding efforts of one block of Ninth Ward residents, focuses less on the neighborhood’s despair and more on its hopes for renewal. Anderson knew that to photograph amidst such hardship he would have to tread lightly: “I was super-cognizant of ‘photographers fatigue’–people were sick of photographers showing up night and day and making grand promises,” he mentioned in a Color magazine profile. That Anderson spent time living and forming relationships with the residents he photographed is evident in the work—the subjects appear at ease, comfortable sharing their struggle to rebuild with Anderson and his lens.
Anderson produces videos as well as photographs—he is the man behind Oxford American’s SoLost web series, a video exploration of “the side roads, backrooms, cellars and psyche of the modern South,” which so far features 29 four-to-seven minute mini-documentaries on subjects ranging from a couple constructing a medieval castle in Arkansas, to Alabama menswear designer Billy Reid, to photographer William Eggleston. SoLost is a one-man operation, which accounts for the easy rapport between Anderson’s camera and his subjects, and why these videos feel like privileged glimpses into the richness and diversity of life in the American South.
Anderson will give a lecture about his image-making projects at The Center for Photography at Woodstock, this Friday, July 13 at 8pm. If you’re in the area, it will be worth checking out.