Photographer Brandon Thibodeaux’s first monograph, In That Land of Perfect Day, presents tales of strength against struggle, humility amidst pride, and promise for deliverance in the lives he has come to know. For over eight years, he roamed through a forty-square mile area in the Mississippi Delta, learning about the region’s history and the contemporary experience of its residents. His photographs depict the rural African American experience in a universal quest for faith, perseverance, and solace through community. –Red Hook Editions
I’ve had Brandon’s deeply moving story in my head all week. Photography has been a healing practice for me, and Brandon expressed a similar sentiment when questioned about the motivation behind his project.
“I wanted to get some soul in my soul.”
Brandon is a really big deal right now. He’s won numerous awards and has landed opportunities to show and share his work at prestigious galleries. Despite fame and hopefully fortune, Brandon is down-to-earth and genuine in his discussion of photography, personal projects, and outlook on life. I am so happy I didn’t miss the opportunity to hear his soft Texan drawl, telling stories, giving encouragement and spreading hope.
Brandon’s comments about portraits spoke directly to my heart as I work my way through my own project of 100 Strangers.
“You never know where one door will lead if you just have the courage to talk to somebody.”
I felt a kinship as Brandon described his own discomfort with the intimacy of portraits and the courage required to make such pictures. In his mind, portraits are collaborations and his goal is always to express a sense of dignity with people. Beyond photography, his personal work and projects are about relationships, and he talks about making something with reverence – recognizing the preciousness of each image.
I took away an important piece of advice.
“Sit with the images over time and the meaning evolves.”
I am finding this to be true in my own work.
Photographs that didn’t make the first cut are often the very ones that tell my story the most effectively.