Published on June 11th, 2014 | by TLV News0
Maude Schuyler Clay signs Delta Dogs at Off Square Books – 5 pm, 6/12
The Mississippi Delta is known for many things. It is a land of stark contrast, in which rich soil produces an agricultural bounty as well as fearsome economic want. Seen through the penetrating lens of noted photographer Maude Schuyler Clay, the nearly deserted buildings and landscapes of the Delta are brought to life by the dogs that roam the wide fields and swamp-soaked shadows.
For the past 15 years, Clay has been driving the back roads photographing her native Delta. In the darkroom of her family homestead she has developed hundreds of images of eroding architecture, misty bayous, small stands of woods, endless rows of crops. And dogs. Clay has spotted and captured the elemental spirit of dogs eking out existences from this majestic landscape. In her iconic book Delta Land, Clay introduced the “Dog in the Fog,” the muscular lab standing watch in the mist and trees of Cassidy Bayou. This photo became widely recognized, and Clay wanted to further explore the relationship between the land and the numerous dogs populating its fields, bayous, and abandoned spaces.
This new book, Delta Dogs, celebrates the canines who roam this corner of Mississippi. Her dogs are by turns soulful, eager, wary, resigned, menacing, and contented. Writers Brad Watson and Beth Ann Fennelly ponder Clay’s dogs and their connections to the Delta, speculating about their role in the drama of everyday life and about their relationships to the humans who share this landscape with them. In a photographer’s afterword, Clay writes about discovering the beauty of her native land from within. She finds that the ubiquitous presence of the Delta dog gives scale, life, and sometimes even whimsy and intent to her Mississippi landscape.