(Photo Credit: Fire Eater, 2009 by Terri Garland)

Terry Garland, a photographer based in the American South, documents Southern customs by often investigating issues of racism and xenophobia, as well as religious convictions. Garland’s image Fire-Eater, 2009 from The Good Books series is featured in the Center’s “New Visions” exhibition. The piece examines a dilapidated dictionary—a once bound hardback salvaged from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. To find this book and others like it, Garland walked through Central City and the Lower Ninth Ward of post-Katrina New Orleans recovering discarded publications in deserted buildings and churches. Garland then scanned the books she found—documenting them in all of their desecration. Her series reveals more than just torn, burnt, and weathered pages. Each tattered book symbolizes the trauma of its previous owners and embodies the repercussions and abandonment of a hurricane-ridden New Orleans. While the bibles in the series suggest devastated faith, the dictionary shown in Fire Eater, 2009 suggests a loss of communication—a city shut-off and isolated from the rest of the country.

More images from The Good Books series:

(Photo Credit: Zebra Bible, 2006 by Terri Garland)

(Photo Credit: Lapis Bible, 2006 by Terri Garland)