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Southern Spaces
A journal about real and imagined spaces and places of the US South and their global connections

MARBL Presents Atlanta Intersections: Photographer Chip Simone on Atlanta and Photography

Emory University
Published May 6, 2015

Atlanta Intersections features Atlantans in conversation with Randy Gue, curator of Modern Political and Historical Collections at Emory University's Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL). In collaboration with Southern Spaces, MARBL presents clips of the full interviews to spur conversations and encourage research on the featured topics.

Chip Simone. Photo courtesy of Chip Simone.
Chip Simone. Photo courtesy of Chip Simone.

Long-time Atlanta resident Chip Simone co-founded NEXUS, Atlanta’s first photography gallery, in 1973. Originally from Worcester, Massachusetts, Simone studied at the Rhode Island School of Design with modern American photography master Harry Callahan. Simone’s photos are currently included in permanent collections at the Museum of Modern Art, the High Museum of Art, the Houston Museum of Fine Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and in the Sir Elton John Photography Collection. Simone has also published two collections, On Common Ground: Photographs from the Crossroads of the New South (1996) and Chroma: Photographs by Chip Simone (2011), printed in conjunction with his exhibit at Atlanta’s High Museum.

When he moved from Manhattan to Atlanta in 1972, Simone initially took photographs of his wife, family members, and his new neighborhood of Virginia Highlands. In time, however, Simone shifted his focus to rarely photographed areas of urban Atlanta.

Photo Courtesy of Chip Simone.
A Woman Has Her Hair Braided in Piedmont Park, 1996. Photo courtesy of Chip Simone. 

“Atlanta was struggling to redefine itself, and I was more intrigued by the nature of it as a growing and transforming American city,” Simone says. “I was more interested in discovering what was not known about Atlanta and experiencing it than in reinforcing that conventional lore. Over time, my work has evolved into a more personal and intimate view of the city and its people.”

In this clip, Simone discusses Maynard Holbrook Jackson Jr., Atlanta’s first African American mayor, and his impact on the city’s topography, race relations, and the development of its artistic community. For more information about the role that art organizations like NEXUS have played in the development of Atlanta visit MARBL’s Modern Political and Historical Collections. 

Randy Gue Interviews Chip Simone