Monday, April 09, 2007

Stax Museum Exhibit

Now on display at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music:

“SOUL SANCTUARY: Images of the African-American Worship Experience”
February 4 - April 29, 2007

This breathtaking photo exhibit will be on display February 4 – April 29, 2007 and features 50 black-and-white photographs that capture the essence and rhythms of the black Christian church taken by award-winning photographer Jason Miccolo Johnson. Selected from 15,000 photographs Johnson shot over a ten-year period in 25 states (including several churches in Memphis), this collection of images captures the spirit of the black church through arresting images of congregants’ facial expressions and body language, their uniforms and dress, and the dignity of their worship.

Jason Miccolo Johnson grew up in Memphis and graduated from George Washington Carver high school in 1974 before attending Memphis State University and later obtaining a degree in journalism from Howard University. He was influenced by two icons of photography; Civil rights lensman Ernest Withers and Life Magazine photographer Gordon Parks. Parks wrote the foreword to the companion book which he calls “a magnificent collection” of images. The exhibition will include at least ten Memphis churches and highlight the musical talents in many sanctuaries. A former photo editor at USA Today’s Sports Weekly, and production assistant at ABC News’s Good Morning America, his photos have been published in more than 15 books and 50 magazines, including Songs of my People, Glamour, Essence, Ebony, Time, Newsweek, Smithsonian, Jet, and Black Enterprise. His work has appeared in two major Smithsonian Institution exhibitions: “Reflections in Black” and “Speak to My Heart.” He has taken exclusive photographs of some of the world’s most recognizable people including Princess Dianna, Nelson Mandela, Muhammad Ali, Colin Powell, and Oprah Winfrey.

Johnson is perhaps best known for his “visual call and response” shooting style, with poignant images that focus on the subject’s eyes and hands. Nowhere is this more evident than in the photographs of Baptisms, weddings, funerals, annual day celebrations, ecstatic soloists and choir directors, prophetic preachers, angelic liturgical dancers, and peaceful moments of prayer and praise contained in SOUL SANCTUARY: Images of the African-American Worship Experience.

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