The Spirit of the Place: Photographs by Jack Leigh
March 4–June 11, 2017
Jack Leigh (American, 1948–2004)
Gelatin silver print
Purchase with funds from Photo Forum, Lucinda W. Bunnen, Kathy Levitt, Henry Minis, and Craig Barrow, 2008.241
The Spirit of the Place: Photographs by Jack Leigh showcases the lyrical work of celebrated Savannah photographer Jack Leigh (American, 1948–2004). Leigh was among a generation of Southern photographers who came of age in the 1970s, including William Christenberry and William Eggleston, whose work focused on the subtle beauty found in ordinary and out-of-the-way areas of the American South.
Leigh was born in Savannah and devoted his career to documenting the unique character of his home city as well as the marshlands, fishing villages, and roadside towns of the coastal Lowcountry. Working exclusively in black and white, he was drawn not only to the region’s landscape and aging architecture but particularly to its people, those who possessed a deep connection to the land and sea.
Many of Leigh’s subjects—the oystermen, shrimp boat crews, and residents of riverside hamlets—led a vanishing way of life as urbanization and industrialization became more prevalent across the South. Through his discerning photographs, Leigh sought to capture the spirit of these places and the people who embodied them. This exhibition is drawn from the High’s permanent collection and from a promised gift to the Museum.