Zachary McCauley: States Project: Alabama
I’m excited to start off my week as guest editor with the work of Zachary McCauley. He was definitely the first artist that came to mind when I was asked to curate for Alabama. I first became familiar with his work when I was working as an editorial assistant for Aint-Bad Magazine & we featured him. I’m always excited to find other photographers from Alabama so I immediately took note of his name & have been keeping up with his work ever since. I think he has a really unique eye overall but I wanted to share this particular body of work because I was really drawn to the intimate, slightly voyeuristic look these images give us into his childhood growing up in rural Alabama.
Zachary McCauley’s (b.1988 Anniston, Alabama) work primarily explores ideas of identity, family, and interpretation through photography, video, audio, and performance. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from Jacksonville State University in 2011.
Zachary’s work has been exhibited nationally at venues including the Vermont Center for Photography, the Morris Museum of Art in Savannah Georgia, and the Masur Museum of Art in Monroe Louisiana. His work has also been published in magazines such as Aint-Bad Magazine and PDNedu. Zachary was recently honored to receive the grand prize in the Fine Art/Personal Work category in the 12th annual PDNedu Student Photography Competition.
Zachary and his wife Hannah live and teach in Ruston, Louisiana as they both pursue a Master of Fine Arts in Photography at Louisiana Tech University.
Sons and Daughters
My childhood and young life in Alabama were steeped in poverty, loneliness, and feelings of disconnectedness from my blood-kin. I responded to my family’s perceived shortcomings by shaping my life into one of drug use and heavy drinking for a period of time before leaving home. I eventually forced myself out of that lifestyle and left everything and everyone behind overnight in 2013 when I married my wife Hannah and moved to Louisiana for graduate school.
I returned to visit after two years of self-induced exile. After the first pilgrimage, I began to understand the frailty of my family and my childhood home. The rooms I remembered have become hollow shells while my own bedroom has been sealed away and untouched like a memorial. My mother and grandmother have become older. I see them now and understand the loneliness they carry as the burden to my leaving.
When I stand in my grandmother’s house now, I feel larger than I remember. Or maybe the house feels smaller. The ceiling hangs closer to my head, and the floors feel more delicate. When I walk, I hear my footsteps echo off of the walls in the back rooms. The home I remember best has become brittle in my absence, and I feel like it will never regain that solidity. When I return home to photograph, I feel I have to look with soft eyes and touch with soft fingers for fear it may all fall away.
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