"No Deadline Short of the Grave": The Photographs of Paul Kwilecki

Duke University
Published September 30, 2013

In this illustrated talk at the Decatur (Georgia) Book Festival, August 31, 2013, Tom Rankin discusses his book One Place: Paul Kwilecki and Four Decades of Photographs from Decatur County, Georgia. Kwilecki (1928–2009), a "self-taught" photographer lived his entire life in Bainbridge, Georgia, where he took hundreds of masterful black-and-white images over the course of forty years. "I know of no single body of images," comments Rankin, "with a reach and resonance to match what Paul accomplished in Decatur County."

Tom Rankin
Duke University


Part One: Tom Rankin introduces the life and work of Paul Kwilecki and his relationship to Decatur County, Georgia.

Part Two: Rankin discusses the evolution of Kwilecki's photographic style and the process of assembling the book, One Place.

Part Three: Rankin address photographs of Kwilecki's that reveal insider-outsider tensions in Decatur County.

Part Four: Rankin examines Kwilecki's photographic subjects and the continuity of his viewpoint across decades of "staying put."

About the Author

Tom Rankin is professor of the Practice of Art and Documentary Studies and director of the MFA program in Experimental and Documentary Arts at Duke University. His books include Sacred Space: Photographs from the Mississippi Delta (University Press of Mississippi, 1993), Deaf Maggie Lee Sayre: Photographs of a River Life (University Press of Mississippi, 1995), and Local Heroes Changing America: Indivisible (Norton, 2000), among others. Rankin writes frequently about photography and the documentary tradition and his photographs have been widely exhibited.

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