Tom Rankin | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Tom Rankin

Mound Bayou, Mississippi, 2001

Mound Bayou, Mississippi, 2001


Courtesy Duke University

As part of the Endowed Howorth Art Lecture Series, Tom Rankin, a Southern photographer, filmmaker and folklorist, will speak to art classes at Millsaps College this afternoon at 4 p.m. in room 215 of the Gertrude C. Ford Academic Complex.

A native of Kentucky, Rankin holds an M.A. in Folklore from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and an M.F.A. in Photography from Georgia State University.

Rankin has spent nearly 20 years documenting and interpreting the culture of the American South, particularly religious sites, rituals, and communities in the Mississippi Delta region. Duke University maintains a large collection of prints, both black-and-white and color, that Rankin took between 1980 and 2008. Rankin also has a large number of prints portraying various places and people elsewhere in the American South as well as Rankin's series featuring Mississippi writer Larry Brown as the subject.

Author of a wide range of books and articles, Rankin received the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Photography for "Sacred Space: Photographs from the Mississippi Delta" (University Press of Mississippi, 1993, new from $56.99). Some of his other works include "Deaf Maggie Lee Sayre: Photographs of a River Life (1995)" (University Press of Mississippi, 1995, new from $24.50), "Faulkner's World: The Photographs of Martin J. Dain (1997)" (University Press of Mississippi, 1997, $45) and "Local Heroes Changing America: Indivisible (2000)" (W.W. Norton & Company, 2000, new from $5.23). Rankin is currently working on an anthology of primary writings drawn from the last century and a half titled "Truths of the Matter: Traditions in Documentary Arts."

American Photo Magazine included Tom in its list of "100 Most Important People in Photography" in 2005. His photographs have been displayed in museums and galleries, such as the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans.

Rankin is currently director of the master of fine arts program in experimental and documentary arts at Duke University. He previously served as Duke's director of the Center for Documentary Studies.

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