In Spring 2019 I spent a month for a photography residency in Wilson, NC.
At first sight, this small North Carolina jewel was deceptively quiet with its nearly empty streets, but soon I began to feel the energy of the city. The experience exposed that my expectations of the town were clichéd and naive.
Wilson was once a centre of tobacco cultivation in North Carolina, but has since transformed into a diverse and balanced economy with a fast-growing multicultural population. Wilson is an active, beautiful small town, where the history, traditions and modern life are greatly blended. I would call Wilson a “loved town”—with so much love one feels while listening to the locals speak about their community.
I met many wonderful, sincere and open-minded people, all of whom presented what Southern hospitality means, in giving me opportunities to get to know them. In the month I spent in Wilson I allowed myself to be absorbed by the community and the intricacies of its daily life. This is because I believe this is the best way for an artist to feel connected and grow intimately aware of their surroundings. Wilson in return offered a wide variety of photographic opportunities.
I took pictures of renovated historical homes with cozy Southern porches, or abandoned but still elegant houses still awaiting to be brought back to their previous splendor. I shot many events at Whirligig Park, a surreal and unique place, where most of the kinetic sculptures of Simpson Vollis are on display. Whirligig is one of the favourite spots for Wilsonians where concerts, weddings, the Farmers Market and other events take place.
Each day Wilson presented a surprise—an annual Garden Party, a Book Club meeting, the baseball season opening, the Memorial Day service or the quarterly food distribution. All the events I attended and took pictures of would fit just in one old proverb: “A place is only as good as the people in it.”
About Roza Vulf
Roza Vulf is a Lithuanian artist photographer whose work is known to be free from restrictions to a single photographic style, yet characterised by a firm emphasis on a chosen subject. She captures spontaneous moments by simply translating her own perceptions of the immediate environment. After living in Germany for a decade, she resides now in Rome, Italy.
Roza’s work has been awarded, published and exhibited internationally and is held in a numerous private collections. She curated and judged some street photography competitions, including StreetPhoto San Francisco. [Official Website]