Aperture is pleased to present an exhibition by photographer and filmmaker RaMell Ross, as featured in Aperture magazine #231, “Film & Foto“, dedicated to exploring the influence of photography on leading filmmakers, and the role of cinema in the work of artists and photographers.
Having lived, worked, and photographed in Hale County, Alabama, for almost ten years, RaMell Ross has produced a series of quietly powerful photographs—South County, AL (A Hale County)—that meditate on the myths of blackness in the American South. “To be black is the greatest fiction of my life,” Ross says. “Yet I’m still bound to its myth. I can’t help but think about the myth’s childhood and its backyard of the South. How the myth of blackness aged into fact and grew into laws. How it evolved from there to become tacit, and join the secret order of things. How it became the dark matter of the American imagination.”
Ross’s recent experimental documentary film extends his photographic practice. Hale County This Morning, This Evening (2018), which received a Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Award for Creative Vision, is composed of intimate and unencumbered moments of people in a community in Hale County, and offers an emotive impression of the Historic South. The film follows two young men: Daniel Collins attends college in search of opportunity, while Quincy Bryant becomes a father to an energetic son. Creating a poetic form that privileges the patiently observed interstices of their lives, Ross’s film trumpets the beauty of life and consequences of race, while simultaneously existing as a testament to dreaming, despite the odds.