Gravity is Stronger Here

Phyllis Dooney

In my recent wanderings of the internet this week, I've come across Phyllis Dooney's work in progress, "Gravity is Stronger Here." It's been important to me to immerse myself in work like mine, so that I know not only that I'm not alone and can be vulnerable, but that there are some great artists and photographers tackling stories similar to mine.

Dooney was recently awarded first place in The Center's Editor's Choice category for this body of work, and is well-recognized for other work of hers. I have to say, rightfully so! "Gravity is Stronger Here" is spot-on when it comes to representing families trapped in poverty in the Midwest and Southern United States. I spent 18 years in the same situation, and her images bring memories flooding back - both good and bad.

Although Dooney herself isn't in these images, I can credit great vulnerability on the part of the subjects. It's quite respectable to let someone in your life like that. From an artist's perspective, I am drawn by her use of color, space, and framing. The images are natural, seemingly untouched, yet void of anything to distract you from the narrative at-hand.

Most glaringly, I am in awe of Dooney's unabashed confidence in subject and personal involvement. It's obvious that she has a certain comfort that I have yet to fall into when it comes to photographing other individuals.

I hope to see more work from Dooney soon, particularly the rest of this body of work. If she publishes it into a monograph, I have no doubt it will grace my shelves, being pulled down time-and-again to show guests her impressive work. It's inspirational in more than just photography.

Phyllis B. Dooney -