Photos by Nancy Newberry entries for Photolucida's Critical Mass 2009
Nancy Newberry's Homecoming Mum series -
The game of football is inextricably rooted into the bedrock of Texan culture, and the Homecoming tradition is at its heart. Virtually unknown outside of Texas, a 60-year-old tradition takes place on Homecoming Friday, aka Game Day. Exchanged between friends, the Homecoming Mum is an elaborate corsage which began as a simple gift of a chrysanthemum for girls to wear to the football game has evolved into an institution regarded as seriously as the game itself. As both adornment and insignia, the Mum offers its wearer the opportunity to promote self-image, while identifying their status as an integral member of their community
Nancy approach to these portraits has been one of rigorous chaos – a deliberate flexing of the boundaries of formal portraiture, disciplined towards preservation and capture of the chaotic nature of self identity and presentation. To that end, she has thus far limited the settings of the photographs to in an around the subject's personal space to further contain and charge the portraits through confines of the subject's own making.
I like the Americana and next door feel of these photo series. In an era where every single teenager is glued to a blackberry or a cell phone, it is refreshing to portray tradition, discipline and values. A bit of Brian Finke and a YES for me.