James Swift, author of the text in my photo book “Down and Out in the South”, writes this about our publication in the magazine Youth Today:
“I am thrilled to announce the publication of “Rural America: After the Recession,” a multimedia project detailing the impact of the economic downturn on the denizens of one rural community — Bartow County — in northwest Georgia: James Swift, author of the text in my photo book “Down and Out in the South”, writes this about our publication in the magazine Youth Today.
Much more than just a feature about the Great Recession’s toll on country-dwellers, the project is also, more or less, my life story. It gave me a chance to revisit my roots and tell the story of my people — a population so frequently caricaturized and forgotten — and their uphill challenges in the face of the greatest economic crisis in modern American history.
Not only is “Rural America” an insight into the lives of America’s unsung citizens — the rural working class — it’s also a detailed analysis of Southeastern culture. What makes the sting of the Great Recession so much worse for country-dwellers…in particular, those in the Deep South…than for others across the United States?
With photography by Jan Banning — a world renowned artist from the Netherlands, whose socially conscious works have been featured on CNN — and commentary from Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Bragg and Taki’s Magazine’s Jim Goad, “Rural America” isn’t just a feature about economic devastation, it’s also a frank, heartfelt glimpse into the minds and souls of the nation’s oft-misunderstood rural citizens.
It’s a story about family, and meaning, and perseverance amidst total ruin. Simply put, it’s the best thing I’ve ever written, and I am honored and forever grateful that Youth Today and the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange gave me the opportunity to assemble it for you.”
- Jan Banning
May 4th 1954, Almelo
Dutch photographer and artist. Banning was born in the Netherlands from Dutch-East-Indies parents. He studied social and economic history at the Radboud University Nijmegen, and has been working as a photographer since 1981. A central theme of Banning's practice is state power, having produced series about the long-term consequences of war and the world of government bureaucracy.