Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Of the Soil: Photographs of Vernacular Architecture and Stories of Changing Times in Arkansas

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Of the Soil: Photographs of Vernacular Architecture and Stories of Changing Times in Arkansas

Article excerpt

Of the Soil: Photographs of Vernacular Architecture and Stories of Changing Times in Arkansas. By Geoff Winningham. (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2014. Pp. 159. $44.95, ISBN 978-1-55728-659-8.) In the early 1980s, photographer Geoff Winningham and professor of architecture Cyrus Sutherland traveled the state of Arkansas in search of vernacular buildings--homes, barns, sheds, churches, general stores, grain silos, small-town hotels--to photograph and catalog. In 2010, two years after Sutherland's death, Winningham returned to Arkansas and revisited many of the places he had photographed three decades earlier. He hoped to organize some portion of his original work into book form. He may--or may not, he never says--have intended to "re-photograph" selected buildings. In either case, re-photography proved to be a limited option, as most of the buildings he and Sutherland had located were gone, some of them without even the remains of a foundation to mark their disappearance. Instead, Winningham reassembled some of the original structures by means of local memory, apparently acquired through recorded interviews with people who remembered the buildings when they were occupied and in active use. …

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