The American South has an essence that sparingly reveals itself, thus requiring unprecedented determination and patience to photograph all its splendor.
Nevertheless, and despite its elusiveness, this essence I am chasing – permeates; it lingers in the air of North Carolina, and when discovered, puts on a magnificent display. This essence appears in the eyes of a jet-black cat within an abandoned barn: it agonizes within the face of an elderly Amish man; it breathes deep within the shadow of a stray dog crossing a back road; it flourishes within the wings of starlings above a farm after heavy rain; it shines on a dilapidated door in the middle of nowhere, and it tirelessly works in the tobacco fields without complaint.
Over the past three years, I have traveled throughout many impoverished towns and across countless acres of farmland to document and share an original story of existence — life and death as it occurs in rural North Carolina. The photographs within this ongoing project, To Be, Rather Than to Seem — provides a window for others to witness these fleeting moments for themselves and embrace the beautiful raw essence of my homeland.
About Jefferson Caine Lankford
Jefferson Caine Lankford (b. 1993) is a photographer born and currently based in the United States. He uses a range of photographic techniques including alternative, analog, and digital practices. Jefferson earned a BFA in photography at East Carolina University in 2016 and also attended the Australian National University, located in Canberra, Australia — where he studied documentary photography. His work focuses on a variety of subjects, ranging from environmental concerns and foreign cultures to the various aspects of the American South, such as agriculture, poverty, and society. [Official Website]