Ashley Jones: The States Project: Georgia
Ashley Jones is a documentary photographer based out of Savannah Georgia, although her job allows her to travel constantly around the country. She is one of my favorite Georgian photographers due to her respect and dedication to the work she has made in Savannah. I met Ashley in 2011 and have been a fan of her work ever since. She completed her MFA from SCAD in 2013 and has gone on to win awards and exhibit her work nationwide. Not a native, Ashley has found an appreciation for the city of Savannah that is usually reserved for Georgians that were born in the coastal city. I am always looking forward to seeing what Ashley does next.
Ashley M. Jones is a Georgia based large format photographer practicing within the broad genre of social documentary photography. Jones received an M.F.A. from the Savannah College of Art and Design, and a B.A. from the University of South Florida.
Her recent series, Frogtown to Victory, is her attempt to comprehensively document the current state of Savannah’s Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard corridor through long- term documentation. Photographs from her series Frogtown to Victory have been featured in numerous publications including Aint-Bad Magazine, American Oxford, LightLeaked, IMPRINTS Magazine, Ticka-Arts, and ToneLit. She is actively exhibiting nationally and internationally in both group and solo exhibitions.
Additionally, Jones was recently awarded a Fresh Exhibitions Fellowship, which entails a solo exhibition, artist lecture, and artist lead workshop.
Frogtown to Victory
The mass production and relative affordability of the automobile in the early 20th century resulted in considerable changes to our nation’s infrastructure and the need to intersect highway systems with urban neighborhoods. As a resident of Savannah, I am fascinated by the rich history and historic architecture of the city. However, there is a stark division between the restored and legally protected buildings within the central National Historic Landmark District and the struggling, run-down neighborhoods that surround it. I am specifically interested in the at-risk neighborhoods along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and the ways in which they have been impacted by the construction of the Interstate 16 flyover.
This elevated section of Interstate 16, the Earl T. Shinholster Bridge, held its official ribbon cutting in 1967. The construction of the interstate coincided with several other large-scale urban renewal projects including the construction of Kayton and Fraiser homes south and east of the flyover. It intersects with the Westside of Savannah in the historically African American “Frogtown” neighborhood—a neighborhood that has been on the decline since the interchange was completed. In 2010, I began photographically documenting the homes, businesses, and churches in the area immediately surrounding the flyover. My documentation has since expanded to include neighborhoods south of Frogtown and extending several blocks south to Victory Drive. This area includes Cuyler-Brownsville, a neighborhood similarly impacted by connection of 37th Street to I-16.
My photographs depict the current state of this community and the architectural structures that remain to provide an understanding of the historic and contemporary context of this community. I am further exploring local movements to renew and revive Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and the neighborhoods immediately impacted by the Interstate.
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