The radiant world of Eudora Welty's art is charged by a poignant and familiar beauty, and here in a stunning book of her photographs is a dazzling record of this writer's unique and special vision.
It is unusual-remarkable-for a major writer also to be an accomplished photographer. Eudora Welty is one of the very few whose great talent has been expressed in both photographs and fiction.
This book brings together in one volume about 250 representative photographs from the few thousand that she took during the 1930s, '40s, and '50s. Although her camera's view finder compresses much, like the frame in which she conceives her fiction, it finds elements that convey her deep compassion and her artist's sensibilities.
From the confines of her native Mississippi these photographs unfold the world of Eudora Welty's art, reaching, extending, and exploring. In the Deep South of Depression times, when she began writing, she discovered the place into which she had been born and which would always be her subject. From here, as these photographs show, she approached and risked the outside world. From rural Mississippi to New Orleans, Charleston, New York City, and Yaddo, and then to Ireland, England, and the Continent Welty widened her vision and expanded her art. These photographs reveal that both in her fiction and in the pictures she took it has always been in place, in the special qualities of what is local, that she found her impulse. "I was smitten by the identity of place wherever I was," she said in 1989, "from Mississippi on---I still am."
The legions of appreciators of Welty's photographs see in them the feelings and vision that are the hallmarks of her great literary art in such novels as Losing Battles and The Optimist's Daughter, in her memoir One Writer's Beginnings, and in her volumes of short stories.
This serves as a definitive book of Welty's photographs, compromising pictures from her personal collection, from the repository of Welty materials at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and from One Time, One Place, an album of her Depression-era photographs published in 1972.
Included are Mississippi scenes and people, emblems of folklife, carnival signs and performers, photographs taken in CHarleston, New Orleans, Mexico, New York City, Ireland, Paris, Nice, Italy, Wales, and Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and a significant group of Welty's portraits of family members and friends.