There are worlds within worlds in Coahoma County, writes artist John Chiara. It is a place with a strong oral tradition where the locals have a deep historical and cultural knowledge of the region. It is the birthplace of the Delta Blues. It is a landscape enlivened by a photographic collective memory, fed by nearly two centuries of photographers working their magic and being changed by the magic of the land in return.
Over the period of one year, San Francisco based artist John Chiara made numerous trips to Coahoma County, Mississippi, located in the town of Clarksdale. He put down temporary roots, ultimately spending several months, ten days at a time, immersed in the culture and getting to know the land. The photographs made during this time showcase the rich quality of the Mississippi earth with subtle notes of local history—all rendered in exquisite detail. The resulting prints retain poetic traces of noise and residue from the photographic event and the final images are haunting, lush, and characterized by an exceptional luminosity consistent with the quality of light Chiara is intent on capturing.