Tuesday, March 24, 2009

'Not Hell' but you can see it from Composition Gallery

Posted By on Tue, Mar 24, 2009 at 9:39 PM

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Hell's only a kitchen if you live in New York. In East Durham, N.C., it's in your backyard. Or at least, that's the implication behind the title of Titus Brooks Heagins' Durham Stories: Not Hell But You Can See It From Here. The exhibition, which opened this weekend at Composition Gallery in Candler Park, continues Friday during normal gallery hours.

In videos and color photography compiled over the course of two years, Heagins attempts to capture the spirit of East Durham, "an area largely unaffected by the insurgence of money" and "rising social status" of a city otherwise known for institutions such as the prestigious (and wealthy) Duke University.

From Composition Gallery:

These photos show what inner-city America looks like right now, and help to break down the stereotypical image of neighborhoods such as this. They show the bond between races and depict the mixture of ethnicities that live, work, and take pride in the place they call home. Though he is a Durham resident, Heagins also travels to far-off locations for his work, which focuses mainly on photographing people of color from all around the world.

Recent exhibitions at Composition have explored heavy, ethical themes worthy of National Geographic, including the Vietnam War and the African AIDS pandemic. Although Heagens' Durham Story continues in a similarly documentarian vein, the show — with its kudzu-draped tableau of bare feet and exposed torsos — should also appeal to the Southern literature crowd (insert Dorothy Allison allusion here). Seasoned Atlanta photography fans, on the other hand, might enjoy comparing Durham Story with Men of Georgia by Carl Martin, a series loosely related to Martin's exhibition at Opal Gallery last year.

(Photo by Titus Brooks Heagins/courtesy CompositionGallery.com)

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