The Art of the Photogravure
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December 4th, 2007

Papa by Debbie Fleming Caffery

Caffery_03.jpgLouisiana native Debbie Fleming Caffery makes photographs that are anchored at the intersection of earth and spirit. An early series documents the sugarcane harvest that was part of the fabric of her childhood. The haunting images of the cane workers in the fields, often made in the shadowy light of dawn, portray a vanishing culture familiar to those who have lived with it, but a world apart to most. Composed in lush black tones, the photographs suggest an atavistic relationship to earth and fire, light and darkness. In 1984, Caffery began Polly, a poignant and moving collective portrait of the late Polly Joseph, a solitary and proud African-American woman living in the sugarcane country of Louisiana. Shot in the dim light of Polly’s cabin, these masterfully printed photographs not only capture the extraordinary expressiveness of Caffery’s subject, but the expressive characteristics of the medium itself. It is clear in these portraits – collected in a book published by Twin Palms Publishers in 2004 – that Caffery seeks nothing less than the spirit. Whether working in the cane fields or among rural cultures of Mexico, her photographs collect visual mysteries that always hint at that undefined territory between this world and the next. Her newest project, Deseos Sobre Todo (Desire Overall), has won her the 2005 Guggenheim fellowship and focuses on prostitutes and their customers at a rural Mexican brothel. Since moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico, Caffery has worked on photographic projects for several area agencies, including Futures for Children, an Albuquerque-based Native American mentoring program aimed at keeping children in school.

 -from the University of Kentucky Art Museum – May Lecture Series , Feb.2006

Paul Taylor, Howard Greenberg and Debbie Fleming Caffery worked tirelessly to produce this exquisite photogravure.  For information contact Howard Greenberg Gallery.

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