RaMell Ross received a BA in English and Sociology from Georgetown University and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. He has exhibited photographs in the U.S. and internationally, and appeared in outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post and Oxford American while his writing has been published by Walker Arts Center, New York Times and Huffington Post. In 2015, he was part of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” and was a Sundance Institute New Frontier Artist in Residence in the MIT Media Lab. In 2016 he was a finalist for the Aperture Portfolio Prize, winner of an Arron Siskind Individual Photographer’s Fellowship Grant and Sundance Art of Nonfiction Fellowship. He was recently awarded a Rhode Island Foundation Robert MacColl Johnson Artist Grant. RaMell is currently a Mellon Fellow in Brown University’s Visual Arts Department.
A Negro born in the North who finds himself in the South is in a country they have never seen, but which they cannot fail to recognize. – James Baldwin
To be Black is the greatest fiction of my life. Yet I’m still bound to its myth. I can’t help but think about the myth’s childhood and its back yard of the South. How the myth of blackness aged into fact and grew into laws. How it evolved from there to become tacit, and join the secret order of things. How it became the dark matter of the American imagination.
I’ve lived, worked and photographed in Hale County, AL for almost 7 years. Sometimes, there, I feel like I have no race. And if the light was right, no one else did either. Still the myth of blackness is entangled at the root of the South’s mythology – a mythology upheld in textbooks, institutions, media and film and literature. And photography is implicated.
Image credit: RaMell Ross, iHome, Archival pigment print