By Randy Fiedler
Photographic works by Baylor art professor Jennings Sheffield have recently been recognized for excellence by an international exhibition in Paris and accepted in three major American museum collections.
Jennings Sheffield, associate professor of art, had a series of six photographs accepted for the Paris Photo Prize Exhibition in Paris. The series — titled “Recontextualizing the South” — was selected as one of 30 stories to be part of the “The State of the World” exhibition for the Paris Photo Prize Exhibition at Espace Beaurepaire in Paris, France, on Nov. 1-6, 2022.
In addition, Sheffield’s limited-edition fine art book Going Away from Here has been purchased by the Hirsch Library at The Houston Museum of Fine Arts for their special collections. The Hirsch Library maintains a collection of volumes devoted to the visual arts, including books and periodicals, auction catalogues, unique artist’s books, rare books and special collections.
Both the Earl Gregg Swem Library at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, have recently purchased Going Away from Here for their special collections as well.
Sheffield describes Going Away from Here as “a collection of images that sheds light upon the concern of ongoing land loss. These images are of Tangier Island, located off the coast of Virginia in the Chesapeake Bay, which is progressively being claimed by the waters surrounding it an average of nine acres every year. Predicted to be one of America’s first ‘climate change refugees,’ the residents of Tangier Island will be forced to evacuate, and we will lose an entire culture of people as unique as their dialect.”
Sheffield said what is happening to Tangier Island is not an isolated case.
“It sadly tells the tale many low-lying cities around the world are facing in the next 80 years,” she said. “My book asks the viewer to think about the difficult decisions that stand before us — how will we decide who and what is worth saving, and who are we willing to let wash away into the water?”
(Below is a selection of images from Going Away from Here. The typography, presswork and edition for the book were done by Virginia Green, associate professor of art and art history at Baylor University).