Alphabet: Debbie Fleming Caffery
Debbie Fleming Caffery is internationally renowned for her work in documentary photography and as a photography teacher. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship; George Soros Foundation; Open Society Institute; Katrina Media Fellowship; The Lou Stoumen Award from the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego; and the Michael P. Smith Documentary Photography Award, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. Her early work on Louisiana’s sugar cane harvesting resulted in a book, Carry Me Home, published by Smithsonian Press and was the subject of a one-person show at the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. Her other books include Polly and The Shadows published by Twin Palms Press; and Collection L’Oiseau Rare, Filigranes Edition, France. Her work is exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the Bibliothèque Nationale de France; the Museum Für Kunst und Gewerbe, Germany; New Orleans Museum of Art; Harvard University; the Elton John Collection; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
This book is a playful compilation of Debbie Fleming Caffery’s huge photographic archive. Not all photographers have a wide enough range of imagery to even put together an alphabetic assortment of this nature. It is a throwback to the whimsical times of childhood. Children’s blocks are shown upon first opening the book in the front cover, immediately drawing up thoughts of the past. This book reminds me of being in early education classrooms with alphabets on the wall with cute cartoons of animals to go along with each letter. While Debbie’s book does this same thing, the imagery is intriguing and often makes more unexpected connections. I’m pretty sure a kiss was never used for the letter K and Zorro was never used for the letter Z. And each letter on the left-hand page is accompanied on the right by one of Debbie’s beautiful black and white images, which further embeds this book into a nostalgic place.
Clearly this book was meant to be shared with children because Debbie originally created this arrangement for her granddaughter. The history of this book is so endearing and opens to a warm atmosphere that can be shared with one’s own family.
Forward by Brett Abbott, curator of photography and head of collections at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA.
Afterward written by William Boling, publisher, Fall Line.
To purchase, visit Fall Line Publishing’s website here.
Posts on Lenscratch may not be reproduced without the permission of the Lenscratch staff and the photographer.
CENTER’s Project Launch Grant Winner: Tamara ReynoldsMay 14th, 2018
Harry Flook: Beyond What Is WrittenApril 25th, 2018