For “Down and Out in the South,” Banning has photographed 42 homeless men and women in Atlanta, Ga.; Columbia, S.C.; and in the Mississippi Delta (MS). While not the first to photograph modern society’s outcasts, his approach is new. Eschewing caricaturizing depictions, Banning places his subjects in a studio setting without their stereotypical belongings, focusing instead on their individuality — on who they are rather than what they are.
The book features an introduction by James Swift and an Artist’s Statement.
James Swift (b. 1986), who wrote the introductory essay, is a writer living in the metropolitan Atlanta area. His portfolio includes features on rural poverty, the U.S. education system, autism spectrum disorder research, and gay and lesbian rights, among scores of other cultural issues and events. Swift is the author of two books: “How I Survived Three Years at a Two-Year Community College: A Junior Memoir of Epic Proportions” and “Mascara Contra Mascara: A Tale of Two Masks”.
The project, the book and the exhibition Down and Out in the South have been made possible with financial support from the Mondriaan Fund and from the Stichting Sem Presser Archief, both in Amsterdam, Netherlands.