Photographer Debra L. Ferguson has teamed up with Delta State University Archivist Emily Jones to create “This Delta,” a traveling exhibit of Ferguson’s images of the Mississippi Delta taken over the last 30 years.
The exhibit launches with a special Sunday opening on August 24 at 2 p.m. at the Capps Archives & Museum on Delta State’s campus. The public is invited to the free event, and Ferguson will be in attendance.
“This Delta” features Ferguson’s images with a mixture of words from some of the most notorious and noteworthy writers from the Delta and Mississippi. The exhibit will remain on site for two weeks.
A 1974 graduate of Delta State University, Ferguson works as a magazine and advertising photographer, specializing in agricultural and rural lifestyle subjects. She is also a partner with her husband, Owen Taylor, in AgFax Media, an online agricultural news organization.
Her photography has appeared in Farm Journal, Progressive Farmer, Southern Living Travel and other publications and advertising campaigns. A prolific stock photographer, her images are represented by agencies in the U.S., Europe and Asia.
“Emily and I had a lot of fun creating this exhibit from my images,” said Ferguson. “I left the Delta in the early 1970s, but it was always home. Luckily for me, my family and work assignments kept bringing me back often enough to create a body of work. I’m honored and very excited to share these images, many of which have never been seen.”
Jones, who has collaborated with Ferguson on previous work, is honored to see the kickoff take place at Delta State.
“This has been a labor of love for the both of us,” said Jones. “We first talked about traveling exhibits when we worked together on another exhibit, ‘Vanishing Delta.’”
Ferguson won the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters photography award for “Vanishing Delta” in 2007.
“Ever since then, we have hoped and thought about what an exhibit of her work might look like in a traveling format. Finally, we did it,” added Jones.
“This Delta” is a collection of seven panels with individual titles: Delta Folks, Delta Relics, Going to Town, Nature’s Rhythm, Passing Through, Sacred Spaces and Taming the Land, plus the exhibit’s opening panel.
Laura Walker, Delta State University graphic designer and brand manager, designed the traveling exhibit around Ferguson’s photography. In addition, Mothlite Media, a design agency owned by Laura and Josh Walker, created a website that will be the Delta State Archives’ first online companion to a traveling exhibit. The web aspect of the exhibit will also be launched and shared with the public at the opening reception.
The exhibit will tour Mississippi sites for the first year — from September 2014 through September 2015. After the first year, “This Delta” will be available to tour outside of Mississippi.
“We are keeping the exhibit home-state-bound this first year to thank the Mississippi Humanities Council for their support of this project,” added Jones. “There is still time for future hosting sites. Contact us at the archives if you are interested in hosting the exhibit.”
For those missing the initial exhibit launch, the following Mississippi sites will also be hosting “This Delta:”
- September 2014 – William Alexander Percy Memorial Library, Greenville
* October/November 2014 – Tunica Museum, Tunica
* January/February 2015 – DeSoto County History Museum, Hernando
* March/April 2015 – Columbus-Lowndes Public Library, Columbus
* May/June 2015 – Museum of the Mississippi Delta, Greenwood
* July/August/September 2015 – Rolling Fork, site TBD
To learn more about Delta State’s Archives & Museum, visit www.deltastate.edu/academics/libraries/university-archives-museum. Follow Archives on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Delta-State-University-Archives-Museum/149608545092356.