12.10.15 - 02.14.16
Edwards Gallery is pleased to present Roman
Alokhin: Queen Selma. This exhibition contains 27
black and white limited edition 16x20 gelatin silver prints taken
between 2008 (Obama’s election) and 2015 (50th Anniversary
of the Bloody Sunday March of 1965) in Selma, Alabama.
Alabama was known as the Queen City of the Black Belt in the days
of cotton plantations. Its history spans from the Civil War (Battle
of Selma) to Civil Rights (Bloody Sunday of 1965). Selma is not
only historically relevant, but also a wonderful representation
of America's deep south. The town is quiet, stately and beautiful.
No interstates run through Selma, so it feels somewhat isolated
and preserved. The Spanish moss on the live oak trees in the old
cemetery, the family-owned stores, the slow pace, and the politeness
of its citizens’ interactions gives one a sense of old Southern
charm. Visitors are taken back in time to when there were few cars
on the streets and architecture was still driven by aesthetics,
not just efficiency.
I moved to Selma in 2008 to undertake a photographic documentary
about modern-day Selma and its residents. I chose that time frame
intentionally because Barack Obama was running for president, and
it was clear that the events that transpired in Selma in 1965 had
a direct connection to his campaign.
was getting to know the town and its people, though, I could not
ignore the decay and abandonment in some of the town’s classic
downtown buildings. Since the closure of Craig Air Force Base in
1977, Selma’s economy has taken a negative turn. Lack of jobs
and Selma’s relative isolation had caused the younger generations
to leave town and seek opportunities elsewhere. Selma's economic
fragility gave me another reason to pursue this project.
spending a year in Selma, I continued to travel there. I also visited
nearby towns and rural communities that had contributed to Selma's
prosperity during the cotton days and helped highlight that prosperity
during the Civil Rights era.
Roman Alokhin was born and raised in Moscow, Russia. After studying
darkroom techniques with José Betancourt at UAH in 2006,
Roman started utilizing primarily traditional black and white photo
processes for his personal projects. His work has been exhibited
in Moscow, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle and Atlanta.
He currently lives and works in New Orleans and is a staff photographer
at the New Orleans Museum of Art.