During the summer of 1964, a group of five young photographers came together as the Southern Documentary Project, a collective that would capture the sometimes violent, sometimes miraculous process of social change in the segregated Deep South. The brainchild of photojournalist and current San Rafael resident Matt Herron, The Southern Documentary Project yielded an unforgettable array of stories and photographs, many of which Herron has chronicled in his new book, Mississippi Eyes: The Story and Photography of the Southern Documentary Project. On Thursday, May 15th at 7 pm, Herron will give a talk and present a slideshow at the Mill Valley Public Library, where he will provide an inside look at Mississippi Eyes and the stories behind the photographs.
As Herron explains in his book, the photographers' experiences in Mississippi would forever change them: "Those of us who trained our eyes (and our cameras) on Mississippi, had our eyes trained in turn by Mississippi. Our encounters with Mississippi taught us to look at this special place with eyes that were skeptical and questioning. What was said to us; what was seen by us was not always truthful or actual. And when we left this place, we carried our newly trained eyes with us. From that time onward, we looked at the world with Mississippi eyes."
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About our Speaker:
Matt Herron has been a photographer, writer, and photojournalist for most of his life. In 1963 he moved with his family to Mississippi to work in civil rights and shoot picture stories for Life, Look, and the Saturday Evening Post. He has also been an ocean voyager, an environmental activist, a welder, and a labor organizer. Today he lives in San Rafael, California, and directs Take Stock, a stock photography agency specializing in images of social change, particularly historical civil rights and farm labor images.