Edited by Mark Sloan. Text by Ray Greenberg, Mark Sloan, and Josephine Humphreys.
Published by the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art and the Medical University of South Carolina (2010).
Hardcover with jacket.
$29.95 + shipping and handling.
In 2006, the first year of the Palmetto Portraits Project, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) commissioned six photographers to focus on portraying South Carolinians in the Lowcountry, the Piedmont, and the Upstate, reflecting the full range and diversity of the state's citizens, occupations, and recreational activities. In creating a collection of art to display within MUSC's educational and clinical buildings, the university hoped to remind students, faculty, staff, and visitors of those they serve at MUSC and throughout South Carolina.
Each photographer was given free rein to subject matter. MUSC did not establish any guidelines or place restrictions on whom the photographers might choose as subjects. At the conclusion of the inaugural year, the six photographers invited six additional photographers to create the second series for the Palmetto Portraits Project. This ongoing method was repeated for Series III and Series IV, concluding in 2009. In this way, these accomplished artists helped perpetuate the project, broadening the scope of participation and reaching other photographers throughout the state.
The undertaking was managed by the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston. Project partners and the selected photographers expanded the ultimate impact by donating an identical set of finished photographs to the permanent collection of the South Carolina State Museum, in Columbia. This publication accompanies the exhibition, and serves as a lasting record of this historic adventure.
Reminiscent of the Farm Security Administration's photographs of 1930s' America, the Palmetto Portraits Project is a visual survey of state residents at the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century. Novelist Josephine Humphreys provides a first-person narrative about what it is like to be "from here," and contemplates our shared kinship. Mark Sloan of the Halsey Institute offers insight into the privileged access that portrait photographers have long provided into the lives of their subjects. In the Afterword, South Carolina State Museum chief curator of art Paul E. Matheny, III, offers an assessment of how these portraits may be viewed by future generations, and applauds the photographers for capturing "the soul of the state."
The Palmetto Portraits Project partners include the Medical University of South Carolina, Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston, and South Carolina State Museum, in Columbia.
Palmetto Portraits Project won a Silver Addy from the Advertising Federation of Charleston and was recognized as a Notable State Document by the South Carolina State Documents Depository System.
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