Aaron Canipe: The 2015 Lenscratch Student Prize 2nd Place Winner
There’s something about the South that creates a legacy of storytellers. Following in the tradition of the Southern literary greats, Aaron Canipe creates his poetic capture of people and place that garnered him 2nd Place in the 2015 Lenscratch Student Prize. Each of his images begins or end a story, narrated with a southern accent and seen with a certain knowing of humanity, yearning, and time passing. His attention to light, mood, and mystery all combine into a project that is more than just capturing a place; it is at once cinematic and intimate and rich in nuance and detail.
Aaron earned a BFA in photography in 2012 from the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, D.C. While in D.C, he worked as a photographer and contemporary collection archivist at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Andrew also cofounded the publishing and design imprint Empty Stretch, which focuses on curating books, zines, and exhibitions highlighting up-and- coming artists and photographers. Andrew’s work has been published in the Washington Post, the Oxford American, many independent print and web outlets and has been widely exhibited throughout the Southeast. While at Duke, Andrew has worked to process and digitize works from the William Gedney Collection. In 2015, as a part of his MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts thesis project, he self- published a book of photographs called Plateau.
“[The Square] was for him, in his soul’s picture, the earth’s pivot, the granite core of changelessness, the eternal place where all things came and passed, and yet abode forever and would never change.”
— Thomas Wolfe, THE LOST BOY
Plateau is an exploration of the North Carolina Piedmont, a region of the state that sits between the mountain and coastal region. It shares all the problems and joys of being in the American South. The unique topography — the many trickling creeks, rolling hills with adaptable soil and sand — became the stage for Southern imaginations to grow various crops, chiefly tobacco, industries, and lives. This series explores lives and landscapes in transition, like a plateau itself, neither in decline or progression, but a holy stasis that only photography can showcase. Plateau attempts to find the global seen in local small towns and communities of a native North Carolina son while futily hanging on to innocence as witnessed in Thomas Wolfe’s fiction.
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